To deliver on this commitment, organisations must ensure that employees, especially those from diverse backgrounds can access effective mental health support, something that has been overlooked for a long time.
Below, SISU Consultancy addresses a list of actions that employers can exercise or employees can champion:
Focus on the intersections of mental health and inclusion:
Mental Health and Diversity and Inclusion are so very closely connected. Employees from diverse backgrounds can face a lack of representation, micro aggressions, unconscious bias and other stresses that impact their mental health and psychological safety at work.
This means that initiatives that support diversity, inclusion and belonging can also support mental health and vice versa. As employers deepen their focus on Diversity & Inclusion and racial equality, they should ensure employees from diverse backgrounds have the mental health support they need from employee resource groups to counselling services to mental health screening tools.
Educate and empower managers:
Managers tend to be the “first on the scene” to address mental health in a time of crisis. It is essential that employers are training, educating and empowering managers to lead on both mental health and inclusion as a mandatory objective. Managers need to be in the best position to handle sensitive issues with individual employees, helping to answer questions, addressing concerns, having difficult conversations and have the ability and knowledge to direct constituents to the best resources available.
Improve access to care:
Employers have the ability to boast access to inclusive, effective mental health services for all employees.
Companies should leverage their influence to push for policy reviews, network groups, charity partnerships, training including mental health first aiders. It is a time to develop, pilot or scale a full Mental Health tool box strategy that focuses on ensuring whatever is offered, is inclusive and has the people’s mental wellbeing at heart.
Vocalise leadership support in behaviour changes:
Company leadership is in a unique position to rally employees and share their support for a positive culture. Dialogue matters! The key change in behaviour is ensuring you’re using inclusive language that does not alienate those with mental health conditions.
It’s also essential that leadership strives to practice fairness toward everyone and recognises that different people have different needs.
A great example of this would be people coping with anxiety tend to thrive better when they feel prepared. Sharing a meeting agenda ahead of time allows them to know what to expect and can put them at greater ease.
Moving from words to action:
Everyone is coming together in unprecedented times with the global movement for racial justice and equality. Businesses, non-profit organisations, governments, and societies are coming together in the middle of this global pandemic. However, they must recognise the essential role mental health has in the conversation and commitment. The dialogue must now move to action and the focus needs to be on mental health as an essential need at the heart of the challenges we are facing.
Companies that invest in the mental health of their people are fostering positive environments that win and retain top talent. When all employees feel safe, seen and heard, the entire business thrives.
If you need any advice or guidance when it comes to finding a diverse and inclusive company, get in touch with SISU. Their team are there to guide, educate and share knowledge.
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