17 Effective Mental Health Programs

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Many modern organizations have recognized the importance of employee well-being and the impact it has on the workplace. HR leaders play a key role in identifying the right initiatives that will make a genuine difference.

To that end, 17 members of Forbes Human Resources Council share the mental health and wellness programs that have been successfully implemented in their organization. Read on to discover these tried-and-true initiatives and why they’ve had such a positive impact.

1. Wellness Ambassadors

Besides providing the employee assistance program and launching monthly wellness campaigns, organizations will see success by empowering employees as wellness ambassadors. Employees as wellness ambassadors will help to spread wellness practices throughout the organization. – Angeles Escalante, SPHR, Caterpillar

2. Mental Wellness Resources

Our company established the ACT program, which offers mental wellness resources and a sense of community. The intent is to give all employees wellness resources that meet their needs at any given time, including physical, mental, social and financial wellness. The program continues to attract numerous listeners to its podcast, webinars and more personal, individual offerings. – Denise Triba, Ingenovis Health

3. A Wellness Newsletter

A quarterly newsletter is an excellent way to enhance the company culture by promoting employee well-being. It can include highlighting various company programs such as a wellness challenge and health screenings, or feature healthy recipes to encourage. By consistently communicating such information, companies can ensure that their employees are informed and have access to the necessary resources. – Heather Smith, Flimp Communications

4. Discretionary Funds For Holistic Wellness

We have created the C.H.O.I.C.E fund, a discretionary benefit that allows employees to incur expenses on what matters most to them (e.g., wellness and lifestyle, self-care, home workspace items, career development, schooling and so on). This fund empowers employees to spend the benefit(s) that will serve them most so they can bring their best self—physically, mentally, and emotionally—to work each day. – Antoine Andrews, SurveyMonkey

5. Work Flexibility And Unlimited PTO

Implementing a program that supports remote work flexibility and unlimited time off has significantly boosted mental health and positivity. It’s received well, as it shows trust in employees to manage their workload while prioritizing well-being. – Laura Spawn, Virtual Vocations, Inc.


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6. On-Site Professionals And Private, Safe Spaces

Our well-being program integrates a holistic approach to employees’ professional and personal wellness. Our company has on-site licensed professionals who serve as advisors by connecting employees to internal and external resources. This program also includes privacy booths throughout our campuses to provide a safe space for employees to take personal calls and attend online appointments at work. – Jennifer Kraszewski, Paycom

7. Open Discussion Of Mental Health Benefits

What really helps drive engagement and adoption of mental health programs is talking about them to build more awareness. For example, our leadership team has talked about how they’ve used our benefits for their own needs, which enables employees to see what’s available and highlights the value of those programs. – Marcy Klipfel, Businessolver

8. A Dedicated Channel To Celebrate Employees

We started a Slack channel dedicated to celebrating our fellow employees when they live up to one of our core values. Often, if you work in a fast-paced environment, it’s challenging to remember to acknowledge your peers’ impact, but recognition is a key driver in employee satisfaction—and well, it also feels good. So, creating a space where everyone can find joy works wonders. – Ursula Mead, InHerSight

9. Remote Work

Our primary initiative, transitioning to remote work, has significantly impacted overall health and wellness. By providing flexible schedules, we’ve fostered a culture of well-being and positivity. This shift has been embraced due to its adaptability to individual needs, promoting work-life balance and enhancing employee satisfaction and productivity. – William Stonehouse, Crawford Thomas Recruiting

10. Open Communication And Flexibility

Toxic workplaces are fueling record-high rates of anxiety. Factors like excessive workloads, hostility and poor work-life balance erode psychological safety. Leaders must create thriving cultures built on clarity, empowerment and accountability. Proactively supporting mental health through flexibility and open communication is crucial for employee well-being and organizational success. – Jessica Kriegel, Culture Partners

11. Practical, Personalized Workshops

Our Michigan-based company has implemented the “Mindful Michigan” wellness program, focusing on mindfulness and mental health workshops. This initiative has significantly boosted workplace positivity and cultivated a culture of well-being. The program’s success is largely due to its practical workshops and the personalized support offered, making it highly relatable and engaging for employees. – CJ Eason, JobFairGiant.com

12. Mindfulness And Resilience Training Programs

Mindfulness and resilience training programs equip employees with tools to manage stress. These resources also enhance emotional intelligence and improve overall mental wellness. – Britton Bloch, Navy Federal

13. Prioritization Of Psychological Safety

When employees feel psychologically safe, they are comfortable taking risks without fear of retribution; their teamwork and collaboration are increased while their stress, anxiety and burnout are decreased; they share ideas and offer feedback and, in general, trust their co-workers and leaders. Psychological safety creates employee well-being and workplace efficiency. – Laci Loew

14. Team Step Challenges

We instituted a step challenge (with alternate events for people who could not participate) for our remote employees. We randomized teams and used Slack to encourage teams to communicate. It sets the tone for being active and having employees virtually meet people they may not interact with. We awarded prizes to the team and individual with the most steps, and people were excited to participate. – Erin ImHof, CertiK

15. Global Wellness Days

Implementing global wellness days has been a game changer for our organization. These are days when the entire organization takes a day to rest and recharge, so employees don’t have to worry about missing an important meeting or email. Global wellness days debunk the myth that employees can enjoy a work-life balance, and instead, they are an opportunity to model the importance of total well-being. – Donnebra McClendon, Dayforce

16. An Open-Minded, Entrepreneurial Work Schedule

Be open-minded to what work-life balance means. My organization is result-oriented—not fixated on the clock. Sometimes, work-life balance will look like working blocks throughout the day and taking breaks—and that’s just fine. It’s this open-minded entrepreneurial work schedule that consistently ranks number one amongst our employees. – Nakisha Dixon, Vercara

17. PTO For Mental Health Days

A wellness program that’s improved our company’s culture is offering mental health days within our PTO policy. The benefits of encouraging employee time off are well-researched, such as increased employee engagement, productivity, innovation and retention. The real benefit here is the formal recognition of mental health needs within the workplace, which has had less recognition in years past. – Dr. Timothy J. Giardino

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