Improve Employee Mental Health – 5 Things Managers Can Do Today

Improve Employee Mental Health – 5 Things Managers Can Do Today

By Bonny Llyn, M.A.

While taking care of one’s mental health often seems like a deeply personal thing, the emotional and mental well-being of your employees plays a larger role in your business than you might expect. According to Exude, one in every five US adults will struggle with their mental health in the workplace. Happy and well-balanced employees tend to be:

  • More intrinsically motivated
  •  More productive, resilient, flexible, and strategic in the face of obstacles
  •  More satisfied with their work environment and more likely to stay with current jobs

So, how can you ensure that your employees know that you genuinely care about their emotional well-being? The first step is learning how to identify the employees who might need your support. This article will highlight both the 5 common signs of employee mental health challenges and the 5 solutions managers can provide today.

1. Absence
Persistently being late or missing work and/or work functions could be a sign that there is something more to the situation. They could be struggling with severe stress, anxiety, or even an undiagnosed mental condition.


2. Burnout or Fatigue
Burnout is a serious and urgent condition that a good night’s rest simply won’t fix. Employees who are burnt out need empathetic and sincere support to help them get back on track. The signs of burnout include extreme fatigue, lowered engagement, self-doubt, indecisiveness and negativity towards a job that was once a source of pride.


3. Change of Behavior
Is the once bubbly, positive employee suddenly distant or moody throughout the day? Sudden changes in behavior, for no apparent reason, could be a sign that that person is struggling to manage their mental health or going through something that is draining their energy and throwing them off balance.


4. Disengaged or Distracted
If an employee seems disengaged or has been struggling to organize, focus on, or follow through with tasks they used to excel at, then it could be a sign that they’re distracted by something their colleagues might not know about. Employees who struggle to focus or seem disengaged could also be feeling unmotivated.


5. Emotional Instability
Being emotionally invested in one’s career is a good thing! However, emotional outbursts of anger, sadness, or anxiety are signs of mental health challenges and should be treated with compassion and urgency.

Now that you know how to identify common signs that your employees might be feeling
overwhelmed, stressed, or burnt-out, it’s time to remedy them.
Here Are 5 Solutions To Help Your Employees
Manage Their Mental Health:

1. Authenticity and Transparency
Having an open-door policy is a sure-fire way to encourage your employees to talk to you about issues they might be facing in and outside of the workplace. Be direct about your stand to destigmatize mental health. Be outright transparent that their mental health challenges will not reflect badly on them. What also helps is to defuse workplace politics because they cause significant strain on the mental health of each individual team member.

e.g. In the weekly communications, encourage employees to use their mental health benefits (if available). Starting mental health dialogues demonstrate to your team that you care about them. An OC Tanner research showed 79% of employees that quit claimed that a lack of appreciation was a major reason for leaving. It helps to ensure employees that their challenges in no ways negatively affect their work reviews. Assure them of confidentiality. More support: In my workshops tailored to the organization, I suggest more ways for managers to approach this subject authentically.


2. Breathing
Doing breathing exercises together as a team is a great way to start the day on a balanced note. Getting more oxygen rejuvenates the brain. These exercises help keep your team grounded, connected, increase their resilience to be ready for challenges they might face the rest of their day.

e.g. A 3-minute of “intentional breathing” exercise can be easily integrated into a daily huddle.

More support: In my workshops tailored to the organization, I demonstrate how “intentional breathing” can be a great alternative for meditation or meditation apps.


3. Creativity and Curiosity
A creative workplace is a happy workplace. Being able to incorporate some creativity and curiosity into the individual’s daily tasks helps reduce stress, improve innovation, reduce silo, and strengthen bonds between team members. Even virtual events or parties are good for celebrating worthy achievements or boosting morale after hard week.

e.g. Set up a creativity corner at the lunch room or hold a weekly competition for creative ideas. More support: My workshops offer more original suggestions as well as lead the attendees through brain stimulating exercise(s).


4. Dietary and Nutritional Support
Researches have shown that our gut is our primary brain. Up to 50% of dopamine, the motivational, pleasure and reward-related hormone is produced in the GI tract. The amount and diversity of gut microorganisms or beneficial bacteria are also found to affect brain connection. Prebiotics (asparagus, dandelion green) and probiotics (apple cider vinegar, miso) are helpful in that regard. Supplements like B-Complex and Zinc are found to help anxiety and depression symptoms. Hiring a dietician or nutritional expert who actively updates their knowledge from an extensive information base to help your team navigate the nutritional resources could be one way to a happier workplace.

e.g. Have a monthly “Healthy Snacking Day” with your hybrid team or in-offer team. Make it a party! More support: In my workshops, I share many mental wellness lifestyle tips to help the attendees make the most out of their mind!


5. Emotional Support
Managers and HR department can connect employees to trained specialists who can help with ongoing mental health issues or sudden crisis, and healing untreated trauma – an often overlooked cause of mental health conditions. Encourage your employees to work with competent and compatible therapists available to them. It shows that you not only care about their productivity at work, but also their total health.
e.g. Individuals connect with different therapists and styles of therapy. Very skilled nonlicensed therapists/counselors are professionals that can be very effective. More supports: My workshops are great resources to also learn about other wholeistic/holistic healing support.

Mental Health Matters at Work

Ensuring that employees have the resources and support they need to improve their mental health isn’t optional – it’s essential for employers and managers who want to maintain the productivity, retain their talent and protect their bottom line.

Your employees are the driving force behind your business, and each of them requires your support and encouragement.

Here’s more resources on how to manage and encourage mental health in the workplace and beyond.

Get the 24/7 Mental Wellness Tips for Work and Life from now and start making your mental health a priority

Contact Bonny Llyn about speaking at your next event!

Bonny Llyn, M.A. helps organizations create mental well-being support for their team to ensure increased engagement, resilience and retention. Her audience takeaways from her impactful

keynotes are practical tools of resilience and productivity, and empowerment to thrive under any circumstances, which is her own secret weapon of being successful despite her high functioning depression!