Business Sense Banner

Want to Foster a Mental-Health Friendly Workplace? Bring Your "A" Game

4 A’s—awareness, accommodations, assistance, and accessAccording to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 18.9% of working-age adults in the United States experienced mental illness in the past year, and of those, 24% experienced a serious mental illness. Just like it is for most of us, for many of our colleagues who experience mental health conditions, work is a key part of their health and identity, contributing to their sense of purpose and wellbeing.

Given this, it's important for employers to understand how to foster a mental health-friendly work culture. Now, a new resource can help employers learn more about mental health issues and cultivate a welcoming and supportive work environment for workers who have mental health conditions.

Developed by the ODEP-funded Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN), the Mental Health Toolkit presents an easy-to-follow framework for fostering a mental health-friendly workplace, centered around "4 A's"—awareness, accommodations, assistance, and access. Each of these pillars represents actions employers can take to promote worker wellbeing both internally—through education, a flexible work culture, and employee assistance programs (EAPs)—as well as externally, through increased access to behavioral/mental health treatment.

In addition, the Toolkit provides summaries of research on workplace mental health, descriptions of initiatives implemented by companies of varying sizes and industries, and links to ready-to-use resources employers can use to start their own. For small businesses in particular, the tool explores cost-saving strategies for offering EAPs and other beneficial services. Check it out today to learn steps you can take to bring your "A" game when it comes to supporting the mental health needs of employees.

For additional news and resources, sign up for ODEP's email updates.