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With World Mental Health Day putting the spotlight on mental health, the welfare of employees should be very much front and centre of mind for Hong Kong’s HR professionals – especially during the extraordinary times we are currently living through.

It’s also encouraging to see local organisations like Mind HK doing its bit to raise awareness during Covid with its #BehindTheMask campaign.

Mental health in the workplace matters. An estimated 172 million workdays are lost to depression each year – stress, anxiety, burnout and other mental health issues compound the situation.

Here are 10 mental health tips to help protect the mental health of your team:

#1. Talk openly about mental health. The way to overcoming the stigma associated with mental illness is stop treating it as a taboo. Speak about it candidly and help those who are struggling realise they are not alone.

#2. Mental health days. If it’s still mandatory to provide a doctor’s certificate or so-called legitimate reason for missing work, it might be time to change. Part of preventative health involves giving the mind and body a break by enabling employees to recharge.

#3. Be inclusive. Your employees won’t believe that you genuinely care about their mental health unless it is demonstrated at every level of the leadership chain.

#4. Be attentive. If you notice an employee behaving differently – such as irritability or being unusually quite – don’t hesitate to ask them if everything is OK.

#5. Keep the conversation going. Find creative opportunities to include the topic into your employees’ day so it remains in focus.

$6. Foster a mentally healthy workspace. Productivity, engagement, and overall wellbeing increase when workspaces include natural light, plants and other positive aspects.

#7. Be discrete. Confidentiality and anonymity are essential. Even though mental health should be normalised in the workplace, reassure employees that their privacy is your top concern – and that their use of mental health resources will never be monitored.

#8. Ensure resources are relevant. Assess your mental health resources on a regular basis to ensure they’re accurate and up-to-date, and contain practical easy-to-understand advice.

#9. Easy access to resources. Remove hurdles to accessing mental health advice by making content readily accessible in a range of formats such as audio, video and written.

#10. Be positive. Mental health is a serious consideration but it should still be handled in a way that makes people feel understood, appreciated and included and that a clear plan of action is in place to ensure they can get – and stay – well.

Image courtesy Mind HK