Beyond Therapy: Embracing Digital Innovation for Mental Health in the Workplace

Let’s face it: We all handle challenges with mental health in the workplace. We’ve felt the pressure of a tight deadline or personal stressors that at times have left us feeling mentally drained.

Today, there are growing numbers of people wrestling with mental health challenges, yet few reach out for help. The Canadian Men’s Health Foundation reported that around one million men suffer from depression each year.  Despite this, only 30% of people who use mental health services are men, showing the hesitancy felt in reaching out for help, in part due to difficulties opening up because of an outdated ‘tough it out’ mentality they’ve been culturally conditioned towards. Movember has put a spotlight on men’s mental health, showing us just how real this issue is.

For our teams at work, integrating routine mental health practices can transform mental health into a seamless part of life, much like a morning coffee ritual. This organic approach can help with breaking mental health stigma and reducing barriers to seeking help. Businesses aren’t just ticking a box here; they’re backing their teams in a meaningful way. This creates a happier, more engaged workplace. And guess what? Digital tools are leading this much-needed change. Let’s explore how technology is empowering a more open and hopeful future in mental health care.

The post-pandemic era

The current landscape of workplace mental health didn’t happen overnight. Do you recall the rollercoaster ride that was the COVID-19 pandemic? We’re sure you’re tired of talking about it, and rightly so. It not only challenged our physical health, but our mental health, too.

However, some of these hardships through COVID-19 have brought long term benefits to our work lives, too. For example, the pandemic reshaped how we view and approach mental health in the workplace. In today’s workplace, HR’s role is more crucial than ever, particularly when it comes to mental health. Here’s something to think about: the Mental Health Commission of Canada reports that 70% of employees are concerned about their mental wellbeing at work. And in 2023, more than half of HR professionals are making a strong push to enhance mental health support in their organizations due to these growing needs.

This shift is significant. We are also seeing many employees come forward to discuss how they view their mental health as more important than their salary, and are even open to switching jobs for better mental health support. So, what does this mean for businesses? It’s a wake-up call. Creating a work environment that’s mentally supportive isn’t just a trend; it’s a necessity. Employers are adapting, and HR is leading the charge. We’re seeing a real transformation towards workplaces that value mental wellbeing as a top priority. It’s not just good for employees; it’s smart business, too.

HR’s balancing act

Let’s talk about HR leaders, the unsung heroes of our workplaces. They manage policies, benefits, and recruitment, and on top of that they play a huge part in our emotional wellbeing. But let’s be real—they’re not therapists, and they shouldn’t have to play the role of one.

Expecting HR to handle mental health issues is like asking a football coach to fix a dislocated nose. They might know a thing or two, but they shouldn’t have to be burdened by something they aren’t fully comfortable dealing with, nor are they trained for it. That’s why we need simple and sustainable strategies to support the mental health of everyone: employees, leaders, and HR professionals.

How technology is lessening the burden on HR

Gone are the days when companies would just survey employees and add a few benefits. In the world of workplace mental health, digital platforms are really stepping up. They’re using the latest tech to offer mental health support that’s both private and customized to each person. We are seeing an uptake in this approach because it dodges the usual stigma around mental health, making it more approachable for everyone at work. These platforms aren’t just tools; they’re like a private, empowering support system that keeps things confidential and helps build mental strength.

The significance of these digital platforms extends beyond individual support. They take some weight off the shoulders of HR teams. Instead of HR having to handle all the mental health stuff alone, these platforms provide tools that make everything smoother and more effective, and HR the simple means of executing campaigns that are fitted perfectly for their organization. This means HR can focus on other important things while still making sure everyone has access to the evidence-based mental health resources they need. Plus, these platforms are doing wonders for how companies are seen when it comes to caring for their employees. They send a loud and clear message that a company really values the mental wellbeing of its team. It’s not just about creating a nice place to work; it’s about building a culture where looking after your mental health is just as important as any other part of your job. This not only makes for a supportive environment but also boosts how engaged and loyal employees feel.

Before Crisis

Tackling mental health in the workplace is more than just a trend; it’s a necessity. However, HR cannot shoulder the bulk of these mental health challenges for entire organizations and their employees. Technological advancements in mental health cares are making it easier for individuals to gain access to private mental health resources, so employees are continuously working on their mental health before reaching a stage of crisis.  

Interested in learning more about how mental health stigma significantly affect men? Honor Men’s Health Awareness Month with us and check out the recording from out Movember webianr, “Life on the Line: Supporting Men’s Mental Wellbeing in a ‘Tough it Out’ Culture.

View it here!