Making mental health a priority: Seven trends to know in 2022

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If your 2022 has so far felt like you’ve been thrown in the tumble dryer, you’re not alone. With the cloud of uncertainty still looming, how do business owners start fresh in 2022 and focus on their team’s mental health?

Mental health platform Unmind has been working to find the answers, surveying 1,500 HR decision-makers from around the world to learn how they’re approaching mental health at work. 

They uncovered seven key mental health trends shaping the future of work. Find out how you can harness these trends to create a culture where mental health thrives.

Trend 1: Mental health training

According to Unmind’s survey, 88% of HR decision-makers believe all-staff training will be critical this year.

“It’s a smart first step, because upskilling everyone fosters a whole-organisation understanding of wellbeing,” says Dr Nick Taylor, Unmind CEO and co-founder.

“Done right, this can boost knowledge, smash stigma, and create a culture of confidence — where staff feel empowered to open up about their mental health. One-off training is fine, but limited by nature. A continual learning process that speaks to a wider culture of normalising and celebrating mental health is better.”

Trend 2: Wellbeing champions

So how do you go about creating lasting cultural change? The survey found that ‘wellbeing champions’ — in-house mental health advocates — are crucial.

Nearly nine in ten (86%) said they would be somewhat or very important in 2022. 

Cultural change isn’t a thing employers can just plug into their workplace. It takes time, money and, most importantly, buy-in from across the organisation,” says Taylor. 

“Put another way: it’s a team game, not one-player.”

Taylor says getting executive level buy-in is key, and the program needs to be built with input from staff. 

“Commit enough time and resources to do the initiative, plus your people, justice.”

Download Unminds report, seven trends that will shape workplace mental health in 2022.

Trend 3: Hybrid mental health offerings

The pandemic and its extended work from home orders brought mental health awareness to the fore. Organisations are now capitalising on this momentum by offering hybrid tools to suit their people. 

The importance of variety was obvious — nine in ten HR decision-makers said online mental health tools will be important, yet 88 per cent thought the existing EAP will play a key role,” says Taylor. 

“Every person is different, so what works for one employee may not suit another.

“Want to learn what’ll work best for your people? Ask them, then act.”

Trend 4: Proactive mental health

A resounding 99% of respondents said proactively managing their employees’ mental health is a business priority in 2022.

“It’s super heartening,” adds Taylor, who says proactive mental health measures stand to help every employee. 

“Firms should look into everything we’ve discussed so far — company-wide training, wellbeing champions, and digital mental health tools — and think about how initiatives can transform workplace wellbeing support to become prevention first, not cure only.”

Trend 5: Smashing stigma

HR decision-makers say that increasing managers and leaders’ understanding of employee mental health is a top priority in 2022. 

Stigma thrives in darkness,” says Taylor.

“While the mainstream explosion of wellbeing awareness is very welcome, it remains quite new. Outdated views around mental health still exist.”

Short-term, organisations can fight stigma through training, communication, and workplace leaders sharing their mental health experiences. 

“Do this well, and the long term solution — cultural change — sorts itself.”

Trend 6: Leaders step up

Mental health initiatives will only get so far without top-down leadership buy-in. 

30% of HR decision-makers said company executives need to improve their mental health awareness. 27% said more knowledge was needed at a senior leadership level. 

So how can organisations train leaders to champion mental health awareness? 

“Much of this comes down to intent and authenticity,” says Taylor. 

“Employees are savvy, and will notice when wellbeing schemes are treated like box-ticking exercises.”

Trend 7: Health and safety is reborn 

The final trend is compliance with the ISO 45003 standard — the first globally-recognised framework for how to manage and protect mental wellbeing at work. 

“This stuff matters to staff — nine in ten Australian workers say workplace mental health is important — whereas wellbeing investment is known to net a decent ROI: $4 for every dollar spent,” Taylor adds. 

“Even small steps like bringing ISO 45003 into the conversation is better than nothing at all, and could lay the groundwork for long-term change.”

unmind logo

Unmind is built on the belief everyone has the right to a healthy mind. Our workplace mental health platform empowers more than 2.5 million employees around the world to live more fulfilling and balanced lives. Underpinned by clinical psychology and powered by technology, Unmind takes a whole-person, whole-organisation approach. Employees can proactively measure, understand, and improve their mental wellbeing across seven core areas of wellbeing – fulfilment, coping, calmness, happiness, connection, health, and sleep. Leaders are empowered to drive positive cultural change across their organisation by accessing aggregated and anonymised insights into the wellbeing of their people while developing the skills to build psychologically safe workplaces. To find out more about launching a proactive and preventative workplace mental health strategy with Unmind, click here to get in touch today.

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