Why managers need to better understand mental health warnings from the National Institutes of Health

Collective mental health issues, including stress and anxiety, are holding the workforce back, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), yet managers still ask the same question they were asking three years ago: Are you well? The most annoying phrase, “It’s okay to not be okay,” has become as ubiquitous as it is ineffective.

my question is, are you kidding? There has to be a smarter way to get into the minds of employees, one that will reduce the financial and human toll of mental health issues, many of which start or get worse when the work is very demanding. Common obstacles include inflexibility of managers, limited wages, or the simplest habits, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and taking time to relax.

In 2002, the Gallup Employee Expectations Index showed that only 10% of employees said their boss was the cause of stress. This year, a Gallup poll attributed 70% of team engagement variance to managers, or in plain language, managers have a significant impact on how engaged employees are (productivity, happiness, and present).

I am not suggesting that managers become therapists or invest time in studying complex mental health issues. Quite the opposite. The idea that every manager is able to demonstrate a magical combination of empathy and compliance is unrealistic. Let that idea go, and managers can start solving problems head on again. They have a lot to do already, such as:

Facilitating work and family management

Helping remote employees stay informed

Finding safe and positive solutions to overwork or skeletal staff

No tolerance for harassment

Develop action plans for employees who feel overwhelmed

Here are some new questions to use as starters in thinking and resources for managers:

1. What keeps you awake at night? I still remember the president of the company I worked for because he asked me at every quarterly meeting, What keeps you awake at night? In a room full of executives at short notice, cut off the path to the chase. He wanted to know what problems he could solve and how. The same can work for managers who can demand it from their team members. It is less personal and more practical. Using it can lead the person to the path of articulating the steps of an action plan that will be used to solve short-term stress issues. The goal is small gains, not big mental fixes. The question also enhances autonomy. There is no better motivation, say experts who study self-determination theory. It also clarifies the role of managers. Asking the question shows that you want to help you solve a problem and make progress. Progress ends frustration that leads to satisfaction and improved mental health.

Resources: In a recent Korn Ferry report, 66% said work stress Make them lose sleep. Managers top the list of stress monsters. Stress travels fast and far, so what’s one way to help your employees? Managers need to manage their stress on their own. The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers education and a library of video resources, part of which is called University of Self-Care. They also have support groups that you can find to learn more about specific mental illnesses.

2. Need a more flexible schedule this week? Fluctuating schedules can wreak havoc on productivity. But why not try a short-term one for a week? This way, you can ease some of the burden on the employee who is feeling overwhelmed, and you won’t have a queue in the hallway ordering a mixed table. Temporary stays such as changing the hours of a colleague who has a medical problem but does not want or need to disclose it in full immediately can help. If your question leads to a more formal disclosure, this is also helpful.

Resources: The Employment Accommodation Network provides practical solutions for accommodations and examples of how people disclose their mental and physical health problems to employers. The videos include helpful role-plays. in one examplea woman reveals a chronic medical condition and works through how to get her supervisor on board with a plan that will help her with her stress and flare-ups.

3. Is this a good idea? When people are pressed for time and lack support, they often take the DIY approach. With so many of us looking for answers in supermarket aisles or online, promoting healthy literacy can be a lifesaver. Honestly, you don’t know what you don’t know. Some common nutritional supplements either speed up or reduce the effectiveness of the drug. Other substances, such as St. John’s wort, can cause harmful side effects for people taking antidepressants. This is just the tip of the iceberg of self-treatment. The aisles by the pharmacy where I received my flu shot the other day were lined with gum that rivaled the candy table in front.

Resources: The National Institutes of Health presents a free quiz on nutritional supplements. There is also a handy guide for Find reliable medical information Online you can pass it on to employees. (Scroll down to find important links questioning medical claims and fake seals or awards offered by products to make them appear more popular.)

4. Are you having trouble finding the right medical help for you?

There is a lot about cultural and economic issues that affect the health of employees and their families. If an employee has been denied the right to vote and has not managed their health care in the past, they will not feel a sense of control. There is evidence that stress management is a significant problem for people who cannot get help due to language barriers or a health care model that does not serve their community.

The work that managers can do to help identify social adversities that affect health is huge. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. It starts with educating yourself about the inequities people face in finding mental health help.

Resources: Be sensitive to the fact that many people need health information for themselves or their families in multiple languages. The National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies provide mental health advice in Multiple languages. If you work in a health setting, you can learn more about communication issues with diverse patients. these Video Channels It focuses on communication with diverse patients and also includes topics of health literacy and the role of implicit bias, all of which can influence access to mental health treatment and quality of care.

Note: This story does not cover Serious Medical Infections (SMI). A serious medical illness is different from mental health in general. This difference is explained over here.

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