The COVID-19 pandemic thrust mental health into the spotlight, and as we observe Mental Health Awareness month in May, it’s evident that employers have a crucial role to play in supporting their employees’ emotional well-being.

“The prevalence of mental health challenges spiked amid the pandemic, and work itself became a greater strain on mental health. Simultaneously, our collective awareness of mental health grew, too,” noted Harvard Business Review. With this new awareness in mind, we spoke with the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute for some ways to provide mental health benefits for employees.

  1. Be flexible with employees’ time so they can attend to personal matters during the day, including family issues, personal matters and doctor or therapist visits.
  2. Urge employees to take meaningful breaks so they can get outside to get some sunlight and fresh air. People do better when they remember there’s a big, beautiful world out there, and their work is just part of who they are. 
  3. Encourage independence and ownership of projects, which helps employees develop a sense of autonomy and satisfaction in their work and career.
  4. Keep snacks and drinks in the office so employees can enjoy their breaks with their favorite treats.
  5. Check in on employees regularly to see how they’re feeling about their workload and job satisfaction, and ask what you can do to offer more support. 

To learn more, check out the Chamber’s upcoming event Mental Health in the Workplace hosted by Emerging Leaders Chicago and the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute on May 29.