Navigating Workplace Mental Health: Insights from Grace Ewles of McLean & Company on Cultivating Supportive Environments and Employee Well-being

by Jerome Knyszewski

In the dynamic landscape of business, the well-being of employees has emerged as a paramount concern. In our captivating interview series, “Exploring Entrepreneurial Insights: Nurturing Mental Health in the Workplace,” we delve into the minds of visionary business leaders who share their practical wisdom on identifying early signs of mental health issues, fostering open dialogues, and leveraging education to create a culture of awareness and support. Join us as we unveil strategies that go beyond profits, creating workplaces where mental health thrives.

Name: Grace Ewles
Company: McLean & Company

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Table of Contents

What are some key strategies for organizations to identify and address early signs of mental health issues among employees? Share your insights and experiences on implementing proactive measures.

Grace Ewles: At an organizational level, data and employee feedback are critical to the early identification of mental health issues. Here, organizations can leverage a range of data sources to gather a pulse on the overall state of employee wellbeing, including workforce data (e.g. absenteeism rates, voluntary turnover rates, productivity metrics), employee experience data (e.g. engagement, exit interview feedback), and benefits usage (e.g. sick leave, short-term and long-term disability claims), among others. Analyzing trends over time provides insight into changes in key metrics or indicators of employee health and wellbeing, and can be used to identify priority areas within the organization.

At the team level, leaders can look for changes in behavior and performance as an indicator of mental health. However, it is important that leaders avoid making assumptions and instead use these indicators as an opportunity to proactively check-in with employees regarding their needs and share available supports.

How can companies create a supportive environment for employees to openly discuss mental health and seek help when needed? Share examples of successful communication and resources that have made a difference in your organization.

Grace Ewles: Creating a supportive environment where employees can voice their needs and seek support requires a culture of trust and a high degree of psychological safety within the workplace. It is critical that employees feel comfortable vocalizing their needs and reaching out to leaders and peers for support without fear of negative consequences. However, building this kind of environment takes time, intentionality, and a commitment from all levels of leadership across the organization.

Shifting conversations around mental health at work starts with courageous leadership and easily accessible resources. Leaders can start by role modeling desired behaviors, including sharing personal stories, reinforcing available supports, and proactively engaging in conversations around mental health, stress, and wellbeing. Over time, these practices will help shift social norms and reinforce the organization’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of its employees.

What role can training and education play in fostering mental health awareness in the workplace? Share your experience with impactful workshops, seminars, or training programs that have contributed to a better understanding and support of mental health among employees.

Grace Ewles: Training and education play a critical role in destigmatizing mental health and proactively supporting employee wellbeing. Foundational workshops and seminars provide a common language and understanding of mental health to support everyday conversations and increase awareness of available resources.

More targeted trainings, such as Mental Health First Aid, build individual capacity by providing specific strategies and tools leaders and employees can use to respond to mental health needs in the moment. Together, training and education empower all members of the organization by ensuring they have a toolkit to communicate their own needs, recognize and support the needs of others, and shift social norms around mental health conversations.

Jerome Kynszewski, VIP Contributor to WellnessVoice and the host of this interview would like to thank Grace Ewles for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.

If you would like to get in touch with Grace Ewles or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page

Disclaimer: The WellnessVoice Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

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