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Bosses can Reduce Mental Health Stigma.

Experts tell us that one in four adults will struggle with a mental health issue during his or her lifetime. At work, those suffering from clinical conditions, or minor ones, often hide it for fear that they may face discrimination from peers or bosses. These stigmas can be overcome, but it takes more than policies, it also requires empathetic action from managers.

As reported in the Harvard Business Review, the following are some ways managers can help drive a more empathetic culture:

Rethink "sick days." If you have cancer, no one says, "Let's just push through." They recognize that it's an illness and you'll need to take time off to treat it. But few people in business would react in the same way to signs of stress, anxiety, or manic behavior. Managers need to be more comfortable with the idea of suggesting and requesting days to focus on improving mental as well as physical health.

Encourage open and honest conversations. It's important to create safe spaces for people to talk about their own challenges, past and present, without fear of being called "unstable" or passed up for the next big project or promotion. Employees shouldn't fear that they will be judged or excluded if they open up in this way. Leaders should also encourage everyone to speak up when feeling overwhelmed or in need.

Be proactive. In a Harvard Business Review survey on employee burnout, nearly 70 percent of respondents said that employers were not doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout. Bosses need to do a better job helping their employees connect to resources--like an EAP--before stress leads to more serious problems.

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Title Annotation:ea roundup
Publication:The Journal of Employee Assistance
Date:Apr 1, 2019
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