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COO’s Corner: Support Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

It’s a new era for mental health. Never before have mental health challenges been more prevalent across the country. One study reported 76% of workers experienced at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the last year, supporting the notion that mental health challenges impact nearly all of us on a regular basis.

Our agency continuously promotes the physical and mental wellbeing of our staff by creating a culture of acceptance and access to resources. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Day, I want to share my thoughts on the importance of creating a supportive company culture that promotes mental health.

Understand how mental health impacts our employees

Understandably, poor mental health and stress can have a negative impact on employees. It can impact their productivity, engagement and communication. Strengthening overall mental health is critical to help support our employees to be happy, self-actualized individuals. It’s important that employees feel safe and satisfied at work as they do in other areas of their lives for their personal wellbeing.

Our agency strives to foster a company culture based on trust and compassion. I have an open-door policy and encourage my staff to come to talk about any concerns or personal implications that impact their work lives. There is no stigma and no judgment in regards to mental health.

Prioritizing mental health coverage in our health care plan

The most vital action an employer can take is to offer resources for mental health. Healthcare is part of mental health, so when choosing a healthcare plan, we prioritized one that offered higher coverage, including mental health services.

Additionally, mental health is strongly linked to physical health, and as an agency, we want to support our team’s healthy lifestyle. That’s why our office reimburses for gym memberships, to encourage our staff to get active and clear their mind.

Offer Tips and Strategies 

Since the start of the pandemic, I incorporated weekly staff emails sharing important updates, resources and tips. In my latest email, I shared a piece of inspiration that I recently learned in a yoga class.

Like many, I often feel like I am running out of time, but that is not true. I just need to take a deep breath and relax. I was taught to say “I have” while breathing in and on the breath out say “time.” Again, breathe in “I have” and exhale “time.” Since learning this technique, I have used it frequently and find it helpful and calming. Try it out and see if it does the same for you.

Sustainable Ways of Working 

A critical component in promoting positive mental health practices is providing flexibility and sustainable measures to set employees up for long-term success. A saying that we live by at the agency is, “This is PR, not ER.” Our agency promotes a positive work-life balance where we don’t encourage working nights or on the weekends. Additionally, we offer generous PTO for a much-needed break.

We’ve permanently implemented a hybrid structure, with team members splitting their time working in the office and at home, which provides an adaptable environment and enables staff to be the most effective.

All Points PR prioritizes the health and wellbeing of our staff. We’re committed to doing our part to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. My door is always open if you have any questions or concerns.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

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