Connected Leadership: Mental Health Awareness Month

 

How Can I Demonstrate Mental Health Awareness?

In our fast-paced, high-demand environment, it’s vital that we do our part as leaders to maintain our own mental health. Here are some tips that will hopefully empower you as you look to do just that:

  • Take care of yourself. No, really, this simple idea is easily lost in the day-to-day rush of everyday life. You know your limits, emotional triggers, and what will energize you. It’s okay to take a break. Exercise, get quality sleep, read for pleasure, do what works best for you. Prioritize personal time the same way you’d prioritize an important appointment.
  • Disconnect, even if for a little while. Remember to stop and smell the roses. It can be difficult to be in the present when you’re bombarded with reminders, concerns, and distractions. Turn off notifications, step away from computers, put phones aside, even if only for a few minutes. Equally important – give yourself some grace. You don’t expect others to be perfect, don’t expect it from yourself!
  • Be courageous and avoid stigmas. Create an inclusive and caring culture, being honest about mental health, while still maintaining professional boundaries. Have open and honest conversations about workloads, stress levels, and other concerns. Acknowledging mental health is not a weakness, but an opportunity to learn about yourself and others.
  • Build a meaningful support network. Find people who you can confide in – peers, family members, friends, and talk authentically and honestly about how you’re feeling. Having these kinds of relationships, whether inside or outside of work, can help you feel more engaged, improve work performance, and enhance your personal well-being.

As a leader, you may have team members disclose their mental health struggles. Don’t be alarmed, it means they trust you and respect your judgment. You may not be fully prepared to respond, and that’s okay. Instead of rushing to respond with a laundry list of solutions, thank them for telling you and normalize the conversation. Listen actively with an open mind. Offer help, but don’t make commitments you can’t deliver on. Maintain confidentiality as appropriate and consider if there is anything you can change or accommodate to help these team members. Refer them to resources like Amwell or the Wellpath Employee Assistance Program.

Now more than ever, it’s crucial that we find ways to stay connected with our teams and communities and support our team members in caring for their mental health. Whether it’s a walk around your neighborhood, a yoga session, laughing with friends or loved ones, or listening to your favorite music, be sure to take a few moments each day to prioritize mental healthcare in your life, and encourage team members to do the same.

Additional Resources:

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Connected Leadership is Wellpath’s ongoing leadership education series published by Ann Hatcher, Wellpath’s Chief Human Resources Officer

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