Mental Health Week: How to Support Your Team


Mental Health Week: How to Support Your Team

Every year in May, Canadians come together to recognize National Mental Health Week. In 2024, this week falls between May 6-12th.

Mental Health Week is a dedicated time to acknowledge and promote the importance of mental wellbeing, both in the workplace and at home.

While the maritime sector offers a rewarding career path, it can also present unique challenges that impact employee mental health. Long hours, demanding schedules, and unpredictable work environments can contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression.

Mental health is an integral part of overall health. Think of the mind like a ship: to sail smoothly, it needs regular maintenance.

Here are 5 ways you can support your team’s wellbeing and create a work environment that fosters positive mental health.

Adequate sleep (7-8 hours per night) is essential for cognitive function, emotional regulation, and overall health. Insufficient sleep can lead to decreased productivity, increased stress, and difficulty managing emotions.

What Employers Can Do: Encourage employees to establish healthy sleep habits by educating your team and promoting flexible work schedules when possible.

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides essential nutrients that fuel both physical and mental stamina.

What Employers Can Do: Offer healthy food options in break rooms or partner with local vendors to provide healthy meal delivery services. If your workspace allows for it, promote on-site fitness initiatives such as stretching or offer gym memberships to encourage physical activity.

Social support from colleagues is a critical buffer against stress. Open communication, collaboration, and a strong sense of community within the workplace contribute significantly to employee wellbeing. Feeling isolated or unsupported can amplify mental health challenges.

What Employers Can Do: Encourage team-building activities and foster open communication channels. Recognize and reward collaboration, and create opportunities for employees to connect and build relationships.

Early identification of potential mental health issues like chronic stress, anxiety, or changes in mood is crucial for promoting help-seeking behaviour and preventing more serious problems.

What Employers Can Do: Provide awareness training for employees to equip them with the knowledge to recognize signs of mental health concerns in themselves and colleagues. This training can encourage open communication about mental wellbeing and normalize seeking professional help.

Taking regular breaks throughout the workday allows employees to mentally recharge, improve focus, and return to their tasks with renewed energy. Disconnecting from work during breaks and using vacation time effectively helps prevent burnout and promotes relaxation.

What Employers Can Do: Establish clear break policies and encourage employees to take advantage of them. Promote the importance of setting boundaries between work and personal life. Additionally, offer flexible working arrangements when possible to allow employees to manage personal commitments and leisure time effectively.

Additional Resources: Remind employees of available mental health support resources at your company, such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), or share online resources offered by mental health organizations.

Questions about promoting mental wellbeing in your workplace? We can help!