We Asked, You Answered: How Does Your Organization Support Mental Well-Being?
World Mental Health Day took place earlier this month. With that in mind, we asked readers what their organizations are doing to nurture a workplace culture that values mental health. Here’s a roundup of some of their responses.
According to the American Psychological Association’s 2023 Work in America Survey, 77 percent of workers having reported experiencing work-related stress in the last month. Further, 57 percent indicated experiencing negative impacts because of work-related stress, such as emotional exhaustion, a desire to quit, and lower productivity.
Knowing these statistics and with World Mental Health Day celebrated earlier this month, we asked readers what their organizations are doing to support employee wellness. From mental health days to weekly staff chats, read on for some ideas on prioritizing employee self-care.
Director, Marketing and Communications, Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening
Our organization recognizes individual needs and provides enough flexibility in our work structure to allow people to take the time they need to practice self-care. Team members can take mental health days without judgment, flex their time to manage stressful situations or family needs, and carve out time to focus as needed. From a benefits point of view, we have an employee assistance program that includes access to a wide array of life-care specialists, counselors, and therapists—and we are encouraged to make use of them.
Programs and Membership Manager, Chorus America
Our leadership has made it a priority to enable staff to take care of yourself and your loved ones. If you need to flex your hours to take care of your child, to take a walk during lunch, or to take a mental health day, it’s a culture of “FYI I’m going to do this” and grace, rather than asking for permission to do what you need to do. Using our PTO each year is also encouraged. In addition, we recently established a progressively long sabbatical leave for five-, 10-, and 15-year work anniversaries. We also have very comprehensive benefits that include mental health and therapy coverage. And our leadership is exploring other ways to make working less stressful and way ways to address the stress outside of work.
Greg Melia, CAE
CEO, CXPA – The Customer Experience Professionals Association
At CXPA, we promote awareness and provide support for mental and emotional well-being for both members and staff. Our core values include not only commitment to inclusivity and belonging but also authenticity, stating explicitly that individuals should be who they are, act with integrity, and build trust by being trustworthy, genuine, respectful, and kind. Leaders discuss these values openly, and we particularly focus on the importance of mental health self-care. For staff, in addition to mental health benefits and encouragement to make personal well-being a priority, we hold a weekly Friday afternoon meeting for our small staff with four standing agenda items: What do we have to celebrate this week? What frustrations did you have? What do you need from one another right now? What will you do this weekend to recharge? Empathy is key to CXPA.
Melissa Howerton, CAE
SVP, Member Services, Association of Zoos and Aquariums
AZA started a mentor program where participants present on leadership and mental health topics to the full staff. This has allowed for authentic conversations with colleagues, who are also providing advice to one another. Topics have included imposter syndrome, work-life balance, urgency culture, and learning to bring your whole self to work.
Chief of Staff, University of Maryland Alumni Association
We do several things to promote self-care and mental health. The university at large provides faculty and staff counseling services, free meditation sessions, and weekly newsletters with healthy cooking tips and ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We also have flexible work schedules to allow employees to get the work done when it works for them (within boundaries). Plus, we offer one “no meetings day” per month where staff know they can take that day to finish projects in a quiet setting, allowing them to escape the pressures and stress of daily work life.