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April 10, 2019

Why Every Small Business Owner Should Talk About Mental Health

mental health

The demands of running a small business, along with life’s other stressors, can take a toll on the overall productivity of your business. You are likely familiar with the anxiety and stress that comes from working long hours to start and maintain your business. Your employees are probably feeling a great deal of strain as well as they work to balance work and life obligations. Depression and anxiety affect over 300 million people worldwide, and many people do not seek any treatment. Help your workplace become comfortable and productive for all by communicating about mental health and ways to cope.

Recognize the Signs

Many people live with mental health problems and lead very productive lives by using appropriate mental health supports. It is important to know how to recognize when one of your employees may need to seek assistance so that they can remain an engaged member of the team. Have you ever felt tension between two or more of your employees? Do they seem stressed, tired, or overworked? Be aware of the following signs as possible indicators.

  • Unexplained or frequent lateness or absences. This person may be struggling with prioritizing, feeling motivated, or anxiety for any number of reasons.
  • Withdrawn, unwilling to converse, or general disinterest could indicate depressive feelings which are going unaddressed.
  • Tension and apparent stress could indicate a need to balance anxious feelings.

Mental Health as Stigma: What You Can Do

Discussing mental health and focusing on treatment is more accepted in our society now than it has ever been. Still, it is important for you to model within your business the importance of taking care of mental health. Striving to eliminate stigma within your workplace will make employees more comfortable seeking help when they need it.

  • Be approachable and understanding about the various pressures your employees are likely under, and through this validation, people may be more willing to communicate about why they are not being productive and how it might be fixed. Remind employees at relevant meetings or in staff-wide emails that they can feel free to drop by your office with any questions or issues to discuss. Sometimes, just keeping the door open can make a world of difference to someone who may be anxious about speaking up.
  • Host training sessions to address any of the general problems experienced in the workplace — a seminar on open, honest, civil communication, for instance.
  • Adopt counselling as part of your benefits package, if you are financially able.

Be open to discussing mental health, and watch your business grow as your employees learn to effectively communicate, manage stress, and collaborate.

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