• Olivia Graham

Every Day is Mental Health Day

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

In conversations among industry leaders, there are a few topics that remain at the forefront. These include industry trends, how to avoid common pitfalls and of course what areas of investment are most beneficial for their company. Some may feel outfitting the office with the newest tech is effective, while others may feel partnering with an in-demand influencer is best. The most successful leaders, however, know that the most valuable investment you can make is not in an expansive campaign or bagels on Fridays. It is, in fact, an investment of time and support, rather than money; a commitment to the mental health of your employees.

Often times companies set out with the best intentions, for their people to be happy and their accounts to be successful. When the calendar gets full and time is stretched thin the former of those goals tends to be first to fall to the wayside. This doesn’t mean your team leaders no longer want their employees to enjoy their experience, it simply means priorities shift, something we have all experienced.

Although normal and understandable, the consequence of this can have an extreme effect. In today’s social climate mental health is finally being spoken about with fewer barriers and more transparency. That doesn’t mean that everybody is okay, it just means there is a dialogue dedicated to the importance of seeking help when it is needed. The professional space can foster feelings of strength, pride and accomplishment for those who have the support they need, but it can also amplify anxiety, inadequacy and failure for those who need more than a set of responsibilities to succeed.

There is no one clear path towards creating a safe and healthy environment in each professional space. That is both the beauty and the burden of mental health. Each individuals’ needs are custom to their unique experiences. As employees, we are not asking to be catered to, simply acknowledged and accepted.

Cheer Partners offers weekly ‘Drop In’ sessions where employees can candidly speak with our resident HR expert in a friendly informal context. We also offer pajama days for the moments when somebody wakes up feeling like they must tend to their personal needs. Those are fairly common offerings, but our leaders don’t stop there. The other day I received a message from a member of the leadership team. It read “Hi, I’m just checking on you, it’s important to take care of yourself. We have to take care of ourselves as much as we can.”

Nothing was wrong, I hadn’t mentioned any particular struggle or issue. This leader just wanted to make sure I knew I had somebody on my team that I could talk to if I ever felt overwhelmed. It can be as simple as that because for the rest of that day I felt so motivated and supported in my projects. When your employees feel like you really follow through and have their backs, their positive experiences will reflect in their work ten times out of ten.

Expensive laptops are impressive and funky bean bag chairs are comfortable, even flashy campaigns with world-famous influencers have their place and can be very effective. Those things may impress clients. The most worthwhile investment any leader can make is in the wellness of their employees. Businesses make money through the relationship with their clients. Clients are happiest and most likely to continue or expand their contracts when they are impressed with the work being presented to them. Employees produce their best work when they are feeling their strongest mentally, it is a chain reaction.

As somebody who has struggled with mental health issues in the past, I feel my strongest and most capable when I invest in myself and my health. This is more important than ever today, on World Mental Health Day. When I see my employer investing in me as well, not only do I appreciate it and feel energized to do my best work, I am also reminded to continue investing in myself. I am more likely to reach out for help when I need it, because I know that request will be received well. I don’t need my employer to read my mind, I just need them to walk the walk when it comes to my mental well-being. When that’s strong so am I, as a person and as a professional.