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    HR & Mental Health: How to Help Your Staff (And Yourself)

    Mental health has long been an overlooked topic in the workplace. That’s all starting to change. Employees in all industries and positions are struggling with their mental health, and Human Resources departments and staff are on the front lines. Not only do HR professionals have to worry about the mental health of their employees, but they also must protect their own in a position that can be extremely emotionally taxing.

    This article will discuss the importance of mental health in the workplace, how the pandemic has changed the workplace landscape, and offer tips for protecting your own mental health while you help your employees.

    HR Takes on A New Role

    The mental health crisis in the American workforce is real, impacting HR departments across the country. HR professionals are becoming more aware of mental health issues and are taking on a new role as mental health advocates.

    The pandemic has changed the workplace landscape. With so many employees working remotely, HR departments have had to adapt. The changing attitudes have also meant that HR departments must find ways to confront rising mental health challenges.

    HR professionals are uniquely positioned to help employees with mental health issues. The HR department is often the first point of contact for employees, and as such, they are in a position to identify and prevent mental health issues before they become a problem. Additionally, HR professionals are uniquely qualified to understand the accommodations necessary for employees with mental health issues. Many HR professionals are seeking or being required to undergo mental health-related training and are taking on this new role, but it’s important to note that they are not taking on the role of a licensed counselor, and the added stress of managing this new task can be taxing.

    HR Turnover and Mental Health

    A common mistake assumes that HR professionals are not susceptible to the same mental health issues that plague all workers. They may be even more susceptible due to the added stress of their new role. Additionally, HR turnover is high, which can further impact the mental health of individual HR professionals and the businesses they work for.

    Currently, Human Resources experiences the highest job turnover of all job positions in organizations. An estimated 15 percent of HR professionals quit in 2021 alone. It's another effect of the Great Resignation and yet another sign of the American workforce's mental health crisis.

    The Great Resignation is a term used to describe the mass exodus of employees from their jobs. It's often caused by burnout, something that HR professionals are all too familiar with. They may be the most likely to experience burnout due to the unique stresses of their role in the face of these difficult issues.

    For HR managers, properly tackling mental health issues means better retention rates for employees in HR and throughout the organization. However, HR employees are experiencing more than just turnover.

    Protecting Your Mental Health in HR

    Amid the current mental health crisis, it's more important than ever for HR professionals to take care of their own mental health. Sure, some employees look up to you for guidance and support, but it helps to put your health first. After all, if you're not taking care of yourself, you won't be able to take care of them. Additionally, leading by example is always an effective tactic to destigmatize mental health in the workplace.

    There are things you can do to protect your mental health while you're helping your employees. Here are a few of them:

    Take Breaks

    It's essential to take breaks, even if it's just for a few minutes. Step away from your desk, walk and clear your head. It'll do wonders for your mental health.

    Get Organized

    One of the best ways to reduce stress is to get organized.

    Delegate

    You can't do everything yourself, so delegate when you can. There are other people in your department who can help with the workload. Freeing up some time will help reduce your stress levels and give you more time to focus on your mental health.

    Talk to Someone

    If you're struggling, don't be afraid to talk to someone. Many resources are available, including employee assistance programs, hotlines, and therapy. Talking to someone can help you work through your problems and find ways to cope with stress.

    Set Boundaries and Understand Limits

    It's important to set boundaries with your employees. Let them know you're there to help, but you can't be available 24/7. It’s also vital to make it clear that you are not a licensed mental health professional and cannot provide counseling or other services. Don’t expect to have the same results or put that pressure on yourself.

    Encourage Open Conversation About Mental Health

    One of the best workplace policies to combat stress and improve mental health is to foster open communication on mental health.

    Mental health should be treated like any other health condition. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. By destigmatizing mental health, you will make it easier for employees to seek help when they need it.

    Destigmatizing workplace mental health can be good for your own mental health too. It can help you feel more comfortable discussing your mental health with your colleagues and seeking help when needed.

    Enhance Mental Health in the Workplace Today

    Mental health is a vital part of any workplace and especially important in HR. As an HR professional, you have a responsibility to take care of your own mental health and the mental health of your employees. Doing so can create a healthy and productive workplace for everyone.

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