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A Mental Note

Building a culture of mental wellness is critical to the workplace

Mental health is no less relevant now than in recent years. Though the isolation and stresses of the pandemic are diminishing, mental health is still top of mind for many. From doomscrolling teens to high-performing athletes to workers facing burnout, mental health challenges persist across different demographics, yet resources and solutions are scarce.

International Mental Health Day is October 10, and it presents an opportunity for businesses to consider their workplace culture and what they can do to have a positive impact on the mental health of their employees and customers. The initiatives and campaigns below provide inspiration for any brand looking to create a workplace culture that is more responsive to modern mental health needs.

Mental Health First Aid

The concept of mental health first aid is much like traditional first aid—treat an issue before it becomes a problem. It’s common sense to bandage a cut so it won’t become infected; mental health first aid aims to make addressing early signs of mental health issues as routine and commonplace. Mental health first aid programs train people to recognize symptoms and treat them accordingly before they become a crisis.

Bioré has been training its employees on mental health first aid, and it has set up a sponsor program to train staff on college campuses to do the same.

Along with other programs to support employees’ mental wellness, Walmart recently launched an associate Mental Health First Aid Kit for them to learn to spot issues for coworkers and customers.

Mental Health Week

One critical aspect of mental health is taking time for oneself, and many companies are shifting their policies to allow for not only mental health days but also mental health weeks. Importantly, many of the brands that instituted a “Wellbeing Week” during the pandemic have continued the program this year, demonstrating their commitment to mental health for their employees.

Both Nike and Hootsuite closed their offices for a week for a second year in a row, giving employees the opportunity to focus on their mental wellbeing and recharge knowing that they wouldn’t return to a work backlog (as often happens after vacations).

Levi Strauss & Co. ensures employees have access to paid leave as part of its comprehensive mental health program. The company also offers resources ranging from wellness coaching, virtual therapy, and behavioral health benefits packages. In addition, it’s creating a culture of openness around mental health, encouraging employees at all levels to have transparent conversations about mental health issues and questions.

What Brands Can Do

Mental health will be an ongoing focus for companies, whether that be to support its employees, its customers, or both. The once taboo workplace topic is less likely to be checked at the door and is increasingly part of typical workday conversations. As a result, a growing number of companies are creating and expanding mental health policies. In anticipation of World Mental Health Day this year, take a moment to consider your company’s policy, how to communicate it with employees and consumers, and how to encourage both to leverage your business’s support to achieve better mental health and wellbeing.

Not sure where to start on developing a mental health policy or creating a more inclusive workplace culture? empatiX can help. To learn more about the impact of employee benefits programs, workers’ needs and expectations, and other employee retention trends, drop us a line at

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