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How to Take Care of Mental Health in a Company? Look for Sustainability and Long-Term Effects

Demand for mental health care directly in companies is on the rise and it will not stop with the end of the state of emergency and more relaxed measures in the spring.

It is no surprise. People no longer rely on what the government will give them, they are losing trust in it and look for support, for example, from their employers. In addition, the current times are still full of uncertainty and worries which often results in extreme stress, exhaustion, anxiety, burnout and depression.

The summer, vacations and time off are certainly very beneficial to our mental health but the consequences of the months-long pandemic and the related challenging economic situation may have a major impact on people.

Since many companies were not ready to provide their employees with mental support until recently, they are now trying to quickly book at least a webinar or rush to offer online counseling. It is not bad for the first step, but does it have the desired effects?

Do not look for quick solutions, focus on long-term care

If you want to promote engagement, motivation, satisfaction, a pleasant atmosphere in your company, and last but not least the results achieved by your people, you should approach mental wellbeing on your team in a smart, comprehensive manner with focus on long-term care for as many people as possible.

Perhaps, it is not realistic to think you will get all your employees involved but it is reasonable to target about 80% of people in your company with such activities.

In practice, such efforts are often one-time events or badly thought-out plans. If you only use psychological counseling or a one-time webinar, you will not make much progress in the long run. The activity may help your people in a difficult situation but the effect on the entire team and the team atmosphere will be negligible. That is why you should start thinking about help “holistically”.  

 “If you present your employees with only one solution, you will cover, on average, 5-20% of people in the company.”

Ask before you start

Before you start introducing a mental health care solution in the company, identify your colleagues’ real needs. You can use anonymous questionnaires that you can easily and quickly put together. Alternatively, there are other smart, yet pricier tools. Evaluate the responses and prepare an effective program according to the needs that floated to the surface.

What should you ask your people?

  • How satisfied are you at work?
  • What can we change to make you feel better at work and make your work more meaningful?
  • What do you think we do well and should continue with?
  • Do you feel comfortable when giving feedback to your manager?
  • In terms of cooperation, how does it work on your team?

In-house psychologist 

Having a psychologist on staff is certainly a wonderful thing. However, keep in mind that one in-house psychologist will definitely not be able to cover psychological care for 1,000 employees and their role is also not solely therapeutic.

An in-house psychologist can help to:

  • Use more complex and extensive psychodiagnostics which are available only to licensed psychologists
  • Improve candidate experience during recruitment and onboarding
  • Set up customized motivation systems for teams
  • Address, identify, eliminate, handle and prevent stressful situations
  • Promote a team spirit, group dynamics and culture
  • Improve satisfaction and promote the purpose of one's work

An in-house psychologist cannot help:

  • While they may refer their colleagues to seek out professional help, they cannot be their psychotherapist (there is a conflict of roles)
  • Cover a wide range of today’s hot topics. It is not in human power to know and be able to do everything.

Employee wellbeing program

A comprehensive wellbeing program is the option of choice for companies that see and understand the correlation between an employee’s wellbeing and their work performance. Their experience tells them that short-term and one-time activities have a very minor, often even absolutely negligible effect. Therefore, investing in a holistic wellbeing program is a smart strategic decision for them.

The wellbeing program should be based on the holistic perspective where the performance of each of us is influenced by many factors: physical and mental health, family situation, relationships, financial security, as well as career growth.  This often includes specialized education for HR specialists and managers which helps perfect a healthy company culture.

Companies that implement such programs are “ahead in the game”. They understand not only the need for quick results but the strong sense of responsibility for the satisfaction and health of their employees at all levels.

How to put together the perfect mental health care program in your company?

You often ask us which combination of tools and services would benefit your company the most. That is why we decided to show you a few Soulmio options that work, bring the desired effect and long-term results. This is based on our experience and feedback from specific companies.

(1) Mental Wellness + online psychological counseling

This combination of the two main services, i.e. a content portal to cover mental illness prevention and an online counseling service to address existing issues, reaches up to 60% of employees which has a clear impact on the overall mental wellbeing in the company.

Approximately 20% of employees, who wish to book an online session and share their topics with an expert, use online counseling. Our experience has shown that this service is usually not used by more than twenty percent of the company.

Another approximately 40% of employees appreciate prevention related and specialized information on a single portal - provided by our Mental Wellness service. It offers more than 500 unique articles as well as short videos with a psychologist, focusing on work and personal psychological topics. Twice a month, we broadcast a live stream with a psychologist focusing on a preselected topic. Viewers can anonymously ask their individual questions. Because it is necessary to remind clients of important topics, employees regularly receive newsletters with a selection of articles, videos, activities and topics that they should not miss.

(2) Customized workshop series

Customized online and offline workshops are a great way to focus on specific needs in certain situations in the company. The ideal number of workshops in a series varies but for most topics we have had best results with 3-6 workshops at monthly intervals.

Our most common topics include:

Psychological safety on teams, mental health in 2021, psychohygiene, the fundamentals of wellbeing, mental resilience, burnout prevention, growth versus fixed mindset, working with energy, working with emotions, healthy self-worth and self-love.

A diligently planned series of workshops allows you to reach out to about 10-30% of your employees. If you incorporate them, for example, in your company’s long-term educational and awareness plan, you will significantly boost your reach.

We recommend combining workshops with online counseling. The reason is simple. When facing difficulties, your employees can easily build on the theoretical knowledge acquired during workshops at one-on-one sessions with our experts.

(3) Comprehensive program
Psychological counseling + prevention + customized webinars + strategic HR consulting

We have mentioned psychological counseling, so let’s start by assuming we have covered 20% of employees. Workshops cover the individual or team needs of another roughly 20% of employees. In addition, nearly 40% of your company will appreciate the educational content of mental illness prevention (Mental Wellness).

To make the individual pillars stick together, the company, specifically the HR and the individual managers, must know how to work with them. That is why we provide consultations for HR managers and specialists to help them, for example, with internal communication in case of major changes in the company or a team, we look for suitable tools and methods to promote mental wellbeing of employees working remotely, we co-create new motivational models and carry out internal surveys.

It is important to keep in mind that everyone has a different approach to their mental health and understand the term itself differently. If, on top of that, you consider the intergenerational, gender, social and mental differences between employees, every larger company can definitely benefit from a holistic package that has something for nearly everyone.

(4) Online psychological counseling + monthly topics

You have certainly heard: “Content is king.” Even though it has become more or less just a marketing slogan, it applies 100% in mental illness prevention and awareness of mental health related topics.

Monthly topics are offered in the form of a package of several formats:

  • video
  • article
  • one pager
  • creative task / practical challenge

They are a good choice for companies looking for a cheaper version of prevention than the entire mental wellness portal. Every month, we will choose one topic for you (or together with you) of which you wish to spread awareness, and prepare the necessary materials to be communicated throughout the company.

To make sure that the content of the Monthly Topics has an actual effect, we recommend selecting a 6-month or longer series.

Psychological counseling can be used to follow up on the topics and provide support to those who take the topics seriously and wish to discuss them in detail with one of our 30 psychologists and psychotherapists. Another advantage of the online counseling service is the availability of our therapists within hours and on weekends. In addition, you can consult with them about the mental issues of your family members.

Have you found a combination of employee mental health care services that could benefit your company? Or do you want to be inspired by more examples of successful companies that take the wellbeing of their employees seriously?

Author: Janina Dvořáková

Photos: Unsplash.com and Soulmio archive

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