HR’s role in decreasing mental health stigma in the workplace

In the face of the cost-of-living crisis, employees are feeling the strain, making sacrifices and grappling with mental health challenges. It’s crucial for employers to acknowledge these struggles and foster a culture that encourages employees to speak up and prioritise their well-being.

Think of it this way: if something isn’t right then the opportunity for something to go wrong is heightened. This can have a cascading effect in a business.  

Here are three ways HR can play a pivotal role in reducing the stigma around seeking help:

Implement an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

To proactively address employees’ concerns, organisations should consider offering an EAP. Contrary to the belief that EAPs are only crisis tools, they can serve as valuable preventative resources. EAPs provide support for various issues before they escalate.

Mental health should be an integral part of any holistic approach to employee well-being. Ignoring mental health concerns can lead to costly oversights. Mental health claims tend to be four times more expensive than physical health claims. 

Lead by Example

Leadership involvement is key to promoting the EAP and encouraging employee engagement. By actively participating in the program, leaders can set an example for their teams.

It is suggested that leaders reach out to the EAP themselves and share their positive experiences without divulging specific personal details. Even if leaders are not currently facing challenges, it’s beneficial for them to familiarise themselves with the program and its resources. The more leaders endorse the EAP, the higher the likelihood of employees reaching out for help. 

Provide Training and Workshops

Organising training sessions and workshops can empower leaders to foster a speak-up culture within their teams. These sessions enhance their knowledge and skills in dealing with challenging situations while demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to creating a safe environment.

By emphasising the importance of collective training, ensuring that managers, leaders, and HR professionals are on the same page regarding mental health first aid. This shared understanding enables them to identify signs of distress in their team members and provide the necessary support when required. 


Reducing the stigma around seeking help is a critical step in supporting employees’ mental health. HR departments can make a significant impact by implementing the three strategies above.

By actively promoting a speak-up culture and prioritising well-being, organisations can create an environment where employees feel comfortable reaching out for assistance. This ultimately fosters a healthier and more productive workforce. 

If you want help connecting the dots in your business, reach out to Now Actually Human Resources and together we can create a strategy that promotes all of the above.  

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