5 Steps to Building Depression Awareness

September 30, 2021

An estimated 322 million people worldwide live with depression, including more than 40 million Americans, and up to 56% do not seek treatment. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24, and overdoses are the number one cause of death for Americans younger than 50. People with serious mental health challenges are also more likely to experience greater psychological stress during the pandemic.

Now more than ever is the time to offer improved access to care and promote mental health awareness and support services available. Here are five steps to get started.

Talk About It
One of the most important things organizations can do is encourage an open, direct approach to addressing mental health — and that discussion must start at the top. Through promoting mental health days, talking about mental health benefits on all-team calls, sharing stories across video, blogs and social media, organizational leaders can create healthy discussion and help shed the stigma.

Knock Down Silos
Many organizations already offer a variety of services that support mental health, yet benefits are often disconnected. Organizational leaders can magnify the impact of these existing services by cross-promoting benefits and connecting multiple benefits and services under unified mental health campaigns.

Address Whole Person Care
From financial stress to relationship challenges, physical health to family well-being, it is important to recognize how a variety of life stressors impact each other and affect total health. Leaders can address whole person care, build mindfulness and prevent burnout with support for total health and well-being.

Model Healthy Behaviors
Taking PTO for mental well-being, encouraging walking breaks, and promoting mental health training and education are all behaviors that send a signal to individuals that it is okay to prioritize self-care and seek help to improve mental well-being.

Provide Inclusive, Accessible Care Solutions
Through your employee assistance program, mental health sessions are accessible by video chat, phone or in-person, and anyone can request services 24/7. Services are open to family members, 100% confidential and free to use, and provide access to mental health professionals with a wide range of specialties and expertise.

To access emotional support, reach out to your employee assistance program (EAP).