Across the globe, employers are seeing the need to scale-up their investments in mental health. Employee wellness programs are moving beyond gym memberships and instead providing support for employee mental well-being, including tools such as virtual well-being portals and Employee Assistance Program counseling. Employers are even working to change the workplace culture.

“This year is completely different than other years,” explains Tiffany M. Devon, Director of Communications at Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN). “Self-care sounds like a buzz word—but you could sit at your computer for eight hours and not get up.”

Take the opportunity during World Mental Health Day  to encourage your employees to have conversations about how they’re really doing and to practice some true self-care for their mental health. After all, physical and mental well-being go together.

One way to gauge how your employees are really doing? Encourage them to turn that webcam on.

“You can tell a lot through body language,” shares Devon. “We all need to feel connected. We’re looking at ways to have fun, communicate with staff and make them feel a part of the team.”

Six months into a pandemic, it’s critical for employers to communicate to their employees about the mental health resources and benefits available to them—and, more importantly, that it is okay for them to need to use those benefits.

As a health network, DWIHN is a champion of the need for less stigma around mental health. When it comes to its own employees, the example comes from the top. Willie E. Brooks, Jr., President and CEO, makes it a point to emphasize the importance of taking care of yourself. He often reminds his staff to use PTO, take a bike ride, call a family member—after all, he says, if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you aren’t able to take care of others.

This realization falls hard on the shoulders of managers and other administrators. According to a recent Gallup poll, managers feel more stressed now than at the beginning of pandemic. This stress can often trickle down, causing new levels of burnout among teams across the nation.

Devon and her coworkers took advantage of their skillsets to fight off burnout and the stresses of an entirely remote workplace by creating weekly videos.

“We asked staff to contribute photos of fun things they were doing with family—cooking their favorite meals, riding their bikes, activities with kids. It was a great morale booster.”

As an organization, DWIHN continues to post COVID-19 related information on its website, conduct monthly staff meetings with executive leadership and stay in constant communication with staff.

Showing (and telling!) the support you provide is not only a helpful reminder for employees; it demonstrates company commitment and shows that you are plugged into your workforce—something that will benefit your company long after the pandemic subsides.

If you need help getting the word out to your employees, we’re here to help. Reach out to us at helloindy@westcomm.com to get that ball rolling.

Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN) provides resources to combat the rise in mental health issues. In May, DWIHN announced a COVID-19 Therapy Collaborative to provide a virtual platform with an array of comprehensive, culturally responsive supports and counseling services for its community. For individuals in the Detroit area struggling with mental health challenges, they are encouraged to call the DWIHN 24-hour helpline, 800-241-4949.