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    Human Resources

    The Role of HR in Supporting Employee Well-Being and Mental Health

    blog mental health 2
    Noa Peled
    May 19, 2023
    4 min read
    blog mental health 2

    When you are planning employee engagement strategies or training and development paths, how often does the mental health of your workforce come to mind? The expectations we set forth in our organizations can be beneficial—for shareholders. But they ultimately fail to address the very real, emotional side of being human that Human Resources, of all departments, should never overlook.

    The stigma surrounding mental health has led to many people feeling as though it’s inappropriate to talk about their struggles. There is also an informal rule in the workplace that people should “check their problems at the door” and never allow their personal lives to interfere with their professional performance.

    But mental health is pervasive. When someone is struggling, their low mental health state can impact everything from how they interact with others to how they perceive and implement feedback.

    While we can discuss supporting mental health as beneficial to the company, we think it is important for another reason: to invest in each person’s well-being because at the heart of every business, there are real people who deserve support.

    What HR Should Know About Mental Health

    There are several domains that HR needs to be aware of as they address mental health in the workplace:

    1. The state of mental health in America, i.e., the most common mental health problems people experience. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides excellent details on this topic.
    2. The most common mental health struggles among the workplace, such as depression, anxiety, and burnout.
    3. Issues common among high-performance executives, such as depression, chronic stress, imposter’s syndrome, and substance abuse as a coping mechanism.
    4. Psychological safety in the workplace; it’s the employer’s responsibility to create a safe environment where relationships are free from harassment, discrimination, and coercion. There should also be an open-door policy that allows employees to freely express any concerns or struggles they may have.

    Ensure that you are considering every angle of mental health as you strive to improve employee well-being. By understanding the scope of mental health, and the ways it impacts people’s relationships, communication, and performance, you can choose better resources to connect individuals with the care and support they deserve.

    Ways to Improve Employee Mental Health in the Workplace

    HR should start by conducting an internal assessment of the current status of mental health in their workplace. Anonymous surveys may be beneficial in the initial research stage to encourage openness and transparency among respondents.

    When people feel like others may find out about their struggles, they are less likely to be completely honest about what they are dealing with.

    The questions you ask do not have to be invasive. Instead, you can ask employees to rate their current mental health on a scale of 1-10, and perhaps ask them to check off a list of struggles they’ve faced in the last year, such as depression, anxiety, and chronic stress.

    Start an Awareness Campaign

    HR is the voice of the company in many ways; it’s through your department that the organization can begin to break down stigmas and understand that mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. Sharing newsletters and downloadable resources, like ebooks and PDFs, can help employees learn more about common mental health struggles and what resources are available to them.

    Connect Employees With Virtual Therapy

    There are many remote therapists who can treat employees in a discreet manner. Consider offering vouchers to employees, or instituting a reimbursement policy, that pays for someone’s first several sessions with a TalkSpace or BetterHelp therapist.

    The employee will only have to submit proof of attending therapy, never any personal details about what they sought help for.

    Although the goal is to reduce stigma and open the door for new conversations, it’s also important to remember that mental health is a personal experience, and not everyone wants to or should be forced to disclose the intimate details of their inner struggles.

    Have Therapists Give Presentations

    Whether it’s via Zoom or in person, reach out to therapists licensed in your state, and ask if they would be willing to speak about common mental health problems to your company. Listening to a professional who teaches with empathy and compassion can inspire people who are struggling to take the next step in reaching out.


    Mental health should always be at the forefront of HR’s mind when considering employee health and wellness. By expanding educational tools and access to supportive resources, HR can help empower employees to take better care of themselves and get the help they need, whenever they need it.

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