Mental Health is an issue that is being discussed on a daily basis in the newspapers, TV, social media, among specialists, and at the dinner tables. Mental health affects not only a person suffering from it but also their family, their employer, and employees if it happens to a small business owner. So let’s be honest and talk about mental health and how to address it if you are a solo entrepreneur or small business owner, and also if you have employees suffering from it.
According to CDC mental health disorders are among the most burdensome health concern in the United States. Nearly 1 in 5 adults aged 18 and older reported any mental illness in 2016.
Let’s start with a discussion on how to address mental health as an employer and owner of a small local business. A couple of facts you need to be aware of and pay attention to your employees:
- Poor mental health and stress negatively affect employees. It decreases their job performance and productivity, you may notice a lack of communication and engagement at the workplace, as well as a decrease in daily functioning.
- Mental illnesses such as depression are associated with higher risks of unemployment and disability. Depression reduces the cognitive performance of the person by 35% and affects physical ability to perform by 20%.
What can be done in a small business where all employees are like a family? First, offer a lot of support and understanding, give your employees time and opportunity to participate in decisions about their level of stress at work. Second, take training yourself and provide training for managers in your team to help you learn to recognize signs of depression, stress, and other mental health issues. Third, if possible, create and maintain a dedicated meditation space for your team to feel safe and relaxed. Forth, provide support and advice, distribute materials of treatment opportunities available in the area or through insurance. Finally, treat your team with compassion, learn to be empathetic. Mental health problems of even one f your employee can greatly decrease the productivity of your small business.
Now let’s talk about you – strong, independent woman entrepreneur, owner of thriving small business. Remember, depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders, and even suicidal thoughts are real and could be scary. If you are noticing that something is wrong, talk to your primary care doctor, they will point you in the right direction. For immediate help, visit these available mental health resources online.
Reach out to your friends and family, and don’t be afraid of mental health stigma. The more people open up about it, the faster they can get help and support.