When it comes to mental health, now more than ever, every action counts.
As an Ambassador for Bell Let’s Talk Day for many years, today is a significant day for Wello President and CRO, Lori Casselman. Engaging in meaningful conversations and eliminating the stigma of mental illness, particularly in workplaces, has always been important to Lori, “It’s our responsibility as leaders to be advocates and show our employees’ support every day.”
Read her full message below.
Mental health affects us all in one way or another. Bell Let’s Talk Day is a chance for Canadians to increase awareness, donate and raise funds, and cultivate conversations about mental health.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted us in many ways, both in the workplace – whether you are working from home or in a modified environment – and in our personal lives. A “new pandemic” of a mental health crisis is emerging. It is now more important than ever to be brave and to continue initiating conversations about mental health, today and in the days that follow.
Since 2010, Bell’s annual Let’s Talk campaign acts as a catalyst for all of us in leadership roles to strive to improve the mental health of our organizations. For this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day, I’m recommending four important strategies to support employee mental health.
Prioritize open communication about mental health
While Bell Let’s Talk Day is an excellent way to raise publicity and awareness, the greatest challenge is to ensure that the principles of Let’s Talk are being reinforced in every organization, every day. What are some ways you can keep focus on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and keep this important conversation going?
Every organization communicates in different ways so you’ll need to determine what is appropriate; the important thing is to make the space. Creating a forum, being consistent, and encouraging open dialogue are the priority. Quarterly town halls, weekly team meetings, and manager or peer 1:1’s are great cultural norms and they are also great forums to talk about mental health. Educate, encourage storytelling, bring in a guest speaker. In daily or weekly touch base conversations with team members allow time to check in with one another – small steps can go a long way.
Content Tip: to keep an eye out for new content, type in #bellletstalk in the search bar on social media platforms and see the new and trending posts that pop up!
Access or initiate manager training on mental health
We hope that our leaders and managers will always respond with compassion to a team member who is vulnerable. In order to be most effective, behind that compassion there needs to be education, an understanding of how to provide support effectively, and how to use available resources in the moment and in the days ahead.
Every leader in an organization should be trained to recognize the signs of behavioral and mental health symptoms. Knowing how to provide support to an employee in an accepting and empathetic way is important both in-person and virtually. If you don’t know where to start, download the Bell Let’s Talk Tool Kit to help you facilitate and guide conversations when they occur. As a leader, you can also reach out to your manager, human resources team, or health benefits provider to inquire about your organizations’ training resources for mental health.
Help remove the barriers for employees to access care
Direct managers are on the front lines of ensuring the mental health of their teammates and peers. Individuals in a leadership capacity can act as a support system or vehicle to professional resources for their employees to have trusting conversations with someone who has mental health concerns. It can be scary and intimidating to sit in a counselor’s office alone or make that first outreach to a health professional. Employees knowing that a bridging relationship or platform is available can be a helpful and supportive starting place to seek assistance. Find out more about Wello’s Mental Healthcare support on our website.
Do an inventory of available resources and promote them
There is a wide range of resources available for mental health. Employees should know where to easily find these resources if they ever need to use them or share them with colleagues or family members. In the coming months, take time to review the resources your organization and community have available, and make sure your employees know how they access them.
Here are some simple steps to take today:
- Ensure that every employee knows about their EFAP (Employee and Family Assistance Program) resources, and 24/7 support options. If you do not have a program, provide information about valuable community and telehealth resources.
- Post information in a prominent area on your employee portal. Ensure managers are educated and encouraged to talk about mental health regularly.
- Prepare a list of external resources (community or public programs) that employees can use for support and steps to contact a representative.
- The Canadian Mental Health Association has several great resources available. Share new events and resource materials internally.
- Communicate how to access resources virtually, from home or a mobile device.
- Reach out to your health benefits advisor for other suggestions.
Mental health affects 1 in 5 Canadians. Businesses have many valuable support resources and the reach from one employee to a family member, colleague, friend or community is broad. It’s our responsibility as leaders to be advocates and show our employees’ support every day. But especially today, let’s spread the word and raise funds for mental health together.
On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell will donate 5 cents towards mental health initiatives in Canada for every applicable text, call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, social media video view and use of the Facebook frame or Snapchat filter.