Whether it’s a conversation around paid family leave, burnout, or The Great Resignation, health and wellbeing are top of mind for both employees and employers.
Furthermore, in speaking with ACCP members and other CSR professionals, the topic of mental health has arisen as a critical area of interest and support need. The conversations have primarily centered around supporting mental health as a funding focus area, encouraging employees’ mental health (both in terms of employee self-care and employees who are parents), and supporting CSR professionals’ mental health and wellbeing.
While efforts are being made to normalize discussing mental health, there is still stigma and discomfort. Companies who support mental health – whether as a funding area or an essential focus for their employees – must take on the real and daunting task of changing how people understand and discuss mental health issues.
Mental Health as a Funding Area
For some companies, mental health is a priority focus area funded as part of their corporate social impact program. The Morgan Stanley Foundation, for example, has launched its Alliance for Children’s Mental Health to focus on the challenges of stress, anxiety, and depression among children.
The New York Life Foundation launched the Grief Sensitive Schools Initiative to equip educators and other school personnel to support grieving students.
Both companies have produced publicly available resources for caregivers/families, educators/schools, and communities.1 2
Mental Health for Employees
With the disruption and trauma so many of us have been dealing with in the past three years, it’s not surprising employee mental health has also become a growing topic of interest. For companies, the cost of mental illness in the workplace can be high as more and more employees struggle with anxiety and depression.
But changes in the workplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic have provided new ways for employees to cope with mental health issues, including telehealth appointments and flexible work schedules.
In their recent webcast, Morgan Stanley discussed their continuing efforts to share mental health resources with their employees.
Deloitte has also taken steps to focus on the mental health and wellbeing of its employees, including hiring a Chief Well-Being Officer. As part of their efforts, the global company provides resources to its employees to learn more about the importance of mental health and is also a founding partner of the Global Business Collaboration for Better Workplace Mental Health (GBC).
It’s also worth noting that #mentalhealth has more than 1.8M followers on LinkedIn.
Mental Health of CSR Professionals
For CSR professionals, who are charged with understanding the needs of their communities, supporting corporate disaster response efforts, and assisting with employee engagement activities, the past several years have exacerbated the pressure to address societal issues and responsibility to impact their companies positively. For some, there is an increasing feeling of compassion fatigue or burnout. Corporate social impact professionals have been on the front lines in corporations as they face new funding issues, greater visibility from the c-suite, and more demands on their time and budget. These factors all raise concerns about CSR professionals’ mental health and wellbeing.
What We Can Do to Support Mental Health
As we approach Mental Health Awareness month in May, companies must acknowledge their role and take a holistic approach to the health and wellbeing of their employees, including ensuring care for their mental health. Companies should also consider opportunities to emphasize mental health as a funding area in their social impact efforts.
We have included a list of resources and recent articles for additional information.
- Yes, Your Employees Really Do Want (And Need) Mental Health Support
- Making Workplaces Better for People Struggling With Mental Health Will Make Work Better For Everyone
- To Stem the Great Resignation, Employers Need to Bolster Mental Health Offerings
- This is What Mental Health Support At Work Looks Like
- Four Ways to Advance Mental Well-Being in the Workplace
- Tip sheets for caregivers (in English and Spanish) and educators (in English and Spanish). Comprehensive guides for caregivers (in English and Spanish) and educators (in English and Spanish).
- Mental Health Alliance Paper
- 2New York Life’s Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative. Parent/caregiver: After a Loved One Dies: How Children Grieve and How Parents and Other Adults Can Support Them. English e-book, Spanish e-book. Supporting Your Child English e-booklet, Spanish e-booklet. Kai’s Journey. What to Say/Not to Say Tip Card English version, Spanish version – For Communities, For Schools, For Families