Why We Care About Mental Health in the Workplace

Vinciane de Pape
Jan 31 · 4 min read

Yesterday, we sent a memo out to our team recognizing Bell Let’s Talk Day. As an organization committed to providing a supportive and inclusive workplace, we feel it’s important to keep open channels of communication on the topic of mental health. Below is that memo, fleshed out with some additional information and resources.

“Why is it important for companies to care about employees’ mental health? It would be like growing a vegetable garden and then asking why it’s important to provide water and adequate sunlight.”

– Business psychologist and psychotherapist Douglas Labier, Ph.D

Team,

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day in Canada, a day for raising awareness around mental health and for fighting to end the stigma around mental illness.

Mental health is key to your overall well-being. You can’t be truly healthy without it. Your mental health affects every aspect of your life — how you move through the world, how you think and act, and how you affect the people around you. Mental health is more than just the absence of mental illness; it’s about realizing your potential, coping with the normal stresses of life, and making contributions to your community.

It may be more helpful to think of good mental health as thriving. Good mental health isn’t about avoiding problems or trying to achieve a ‘perfect’ life. It’s about living well and feeling capable despite challenges. Contrary to popular misconceptions, people who live with a mental illness can and do thrive, just as people without a mental illness may experience poor mental health.

So what does good mental health look like?

It’s the ability to enjoy life
Living in the moment and appreciating the “now”.
Accepting that some things can’t be predicted or changed.
Acknowledging life’s challenges, but working to prevent them from overshadowing feelings of happiness.

It’s resilience
The ability to lead a normal life despite being under stress.
Believing that you can learn from difficult times.
Seeking your support network when things get tough.

It’s balance
Making time for things that give you pleasure.
Prioritizing friends and family.
Engaging in self-care.

It’s self-actualization
Knowing what your strengths are and working to develop them.
Working on self-esteem and self-compassion.
Feeling as though you are reaching your potential.

It’s flexibility
The ability to accept things the way they are, even if you don’t like them.
Coping well with change.
The ability to let go of or loosen rigid expectations and opinions.

The quality of your mental health is directly connected to your level of happiness day-to-day, which inevitably spills into the workplace. That’s why Versett strives to support our people in bringing their best selves to work. Supporting each other holistically is what helps us succeed. We know from experience that happy, fulfilled individuals form motivated, high-performing teams.

While we can’t control all of the sources of stress that crop up in your daily life, we can work to provide an inclusive environment that celebrates our differences and actively fights against discrimination and the persisting stigma around mental illness.

One of the ways we can work together to normalize mental illness is to open up the conversation about mental health and show up for members of our team who may be struggling.

Offer support
Too often, we place the responsibility of the individual struggling with mental illness to reach out for help. This can be incredibly daunting, especially when there is still so much stigma. If you think someone might be having a tough time, ask them what you can do to help.

Learn and listen
Being a good ally means learning more about mental illness and actively listening so you have a better understanding of this person’s experiences. The Canadian Mental Health Association is a great resource for learning more about mental illness and how to offer non-judgmental support for those who may need it.

Avoid pushing unwanted advice
It’s a natural human tendency to want to solve problems, but quite often, folks dealing with mental health concerns just want to feel heard. Unless you’re specifically being asked for advice, avoid interjecting your own opinions, especially in regards to seeking professional help as this is a deeply personal decision.

Be mindful of your language
Discriminatory or insensitive language can be harmful, even if it’s completely unintentional. Saying that you’re having a manic day, that you’re soooo OCD about that one thing, or you have PTSD from that client interaction, diminishes the lived experiences of people who do have mental health concerns. Instead, try saying that you’re having a really busy day, that you’re very particular about that one thing, and that client interaction left you anxious. Flex that vocabulary!

We know that an annual campaign to bring up mental health doesn’t do nearly enough to help the millions of North Americans living with mental illness, and that the Let’s Talk rallying cry is controversial at best; however, we see this as one of many opportunities throughout the year to remind our team that we’re here, and we hear you. Let’s continue to talk, all 365 days.


What mental health initiatives do you have at your company? What else can organizations do to better support folks living with mental illness? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter, in the comments, or you can email us.


✌️ Versett exists to inspire and enable organizations to build and operate digital products. If you like this post, you’d love working with us. See where you’d fit in at https://versett.com/

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Insights, gifs, and emoji’s from the product team at Versett.

Vinciane de Pape

Written by

Director of Learning & Culture at Versett. CrossFitter, dog lover, coffee drinker, book reader, and recovering goth.

versett

versett

Insights, gifs, and emoji’s from the product team at Versett.

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