The Four Biggest Obstacles Facing Mental Wellness Initiatives; and How to Overcome Them

Companies stand to build a competitive advantage in building a culture of mental wellness.

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take a massive financial investment, weeks of time, and a dedicated team of full-time employees to create an impactful mental wellness program. Many programs take months to see results or create a lackluster impact even after spending a lot of time and money. Even with the best resources, if you aren’t addressing the common obstacles to adoption, you won’t reap the rewards of your investment.

Here are four of the top barriers to success in building a mental wellness program and how to overcome each one.

Employees don’t know that resources exist.

More often than not, this is one of the most common blockers to success. If people aren’t aware of resources, they won’t get used, not rocket science. Awareness is the first step in getting people the help they may need. Your team is busy, emails get missed, people have a lot going on, so it takes multiple touchpoints to build awareness. Building an email newsletter and slack channel are easy ways to get the word out consistently and get people involved.

Putting all the work on the employees:

If your team is busy, stressed out and doing more with less, giving them an app that they need to spend more time on may backfire. Even though it’s well intentioned, these interventions often fall short. Companies need to view mental health as a company responsibility, not an individual issue. It takes a considerable portion of the burden off the employee and shows that your organization’s commitment to change. One solution here is hosting monthly or quarterly lunch and learns with experts that can help your team learn skills to cope with challenging mental situations.

Employees aren’t clear on what they can gain:

Working on your mental health can have life-changing benefits. However, it’s often a difficult undertaking that takes a lot of time and effort to see results. One thing you will need to be emphatically clear on is “What’s in it for me?” If you are asking for an hour of their time, be clear on what they stand to gain. Something like “Join our lunch and learn on stress” Should be phrased as “Join this session to learn how to reduce stress from your workload, handle challenging situations and discover 4 techniques you can use to deal with challenging emotions” Many successful programs have employee volunteers who become the face of the initiatives. Where 25% of the population deals with some type of mental illness, if put out a call to action for volunteers, you might get some support from someone who has gone through a challenging situation who would share their story.

Fear of judgement:

We’ve come a long way, even in the last few years. But there is still a lot of stigma on this topic. Judgement holds many people back, myself included when I was at my worst. Making resources anonymous and confidential and broadcasting that fact removes this common obstacle. Another option here is to have a confidential survey alias to report issues and suggestions that go to leadership for review.

If you’re just starting a mental wellness program at work, or not seeing results form your efforts, Book a free consultation