Encouraging a dialogue on mental health
With every passing year, the old taboos in the video game industry around the topic of mental health fade and a new, more positive attitude takes their place. Educating ourselves and learning to take better care of our mental well-being are now recognized as essential to our overall health.
Here at Behaviour, we encourage everyone on our team to take better care of their emotional and psychological health. Among other supports, we provide everyone with health insurance that covers psychological support from day one, 24/7 access to professional help through our Employee Assistance Program, telemedicine, paid sick leave and a generous allotment of paid time off.
Another key aspect of this commitment to our team’s mental health is Mental Health Month. This annual four-week period of workshops and activities is designed to promote a dialogue on mental health among our teams. As part of this year’s Mental Health Month, we invited ambassadors from Relief, an organization helping people and their loved ones living with anxiety, depression or bipolarity, to share their stories and offer guidance on ways we can all better manage these challenges.
We were so impressed with Relief that we asked Christine Sauvé, a mental health worker with the organization, to share some of insights on what we can all do as managers, colleagues, and individually to create a healthy work environment where everyone feels free to talk openly and honestly about mental health.
Here are Christine’s tips:
What we can do as managers:
Working as a team creates opportunities for us to share – not just about our work but also about our daily lives.
Here are a few ways that team leaders can encourage dialogue:
- Create opportunities for employees to work in small groups, rather than alone, and foster close-knit relationships among team members.
- When team members take sick leave, ask them what they would like their team to know and how they would like them to stay in touch (if at all).
- Be open, and encourage your team members to be open, too. Encourage everyone to stop worrying about their performance and feeling they must hide behind a mask at work.
- Understand that employees know what they need and ask how you can best support them.
- When a member of your team returns from sick leave, give them time to settle in without overloading them with work.
- Offer regular training and information sessions about mental health to eliminate misconceptions about mental illness and stress the importance of talking and learning about it.
What we can do as colleagues:
Being friendly and caring about colleagues means being sensitive to their well-being. It’s not always easy to know what to do, so here are a few suggestions:
- Take time to speak with your colleagues both individually and as a group.
- Talk to your colleagues about experiences that have improved your sense of well-being or brought you joy such as going for walks at lunchtime or leaving work early to enjoy some “me” time.
- If you sense that a colleague is overwhelmed at work, brainstorm ways that you can work together to relieve the pressure on them.
What we can do for ourselves:
- Find colleagues you feel comfortable with and with whom you can safely share your feelings.
- Don’t judge yourself or feel obliged to contribute to the team when you are absent.
- Keep an open mind and reach out to your team or manager when you need support.
- Keep the lines of communication open. You don’t have to talk about your own experience: you can just talk about the importance of mental health to you.
Learn more about Relief and ways you can improve your mental health on their website.