Mental Health Awareness Month

May 8, 2024

In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness month, we wanted to talk about… you guessed it, mental health and the workplace. This month is dedicated to shedding light on the importance of mental wellness and saying, ‘See ya!’ to the stigmas surrounding it. While the topic of mental health has gained so much momentum in recent years, there’s still so much ground to cover, particularly in the workplace.

If you were asked to name the top three places you spend most of your time at, most of us would include “workplace” on our short list. And because we spend so much time at our places of work, they can be an environment where stress, pressure, and other triggers can snowball into an eventual mental health issue if they’re not addressed appropriately.

As Chicago Glue & Machine recognizes Mental Health Awareness month, we thought it was the perfect time to share a few of our core values and set the record straight on a couple of mental health myths about workplace stress.

We Belive It Starts at the Core

Mental Health Awareness Month might only be observed during the month of May, but it’s an issue that will require more than a month’s worth of work. That’s because it begins with creating a positive environment for your team to work in. And where does that start? Why, at the core, of course.

At CGM, we live and breathe our core values (check’em all out here!). They are the heartbeat of CGM and what makes us, us. One of those values is safety and we know what you’re thinking, “CGM, every workplace values safety.” We hear you, but we’re not just talking about physical safety. To us, emotional safety is just as important as physical safety. Our workplace should be safe not only for our physical bodies but safe for us to express our emotions, too. A place where team members know without a doubt, they can be themselves, even at work, and still be seen, heard, and noticed.

One of our other core values is respect. Aretha sure knew what she was talking about because we all need a little (or a lot of) respect. Treating each other as we want to be treated – with respect and kindness- is fundamental in creating a positive and safe working environment. It sets the tone for a positive workplace where each individual feels appreciated, valued, and supported and that’s why we prioritize it as one of our core values.

So, what does that have to do with mental health myths? Keep on reading.

Speaking Up = Weakness

A common myth is that bringing attention to a stressor or a mental health issue in the workplace is a sign of weakness. We would like the record to show this is not true. The fact is a positive work environment can help squash this myth in the minds of your team members. It’s all about the environment they work in. A positive work environment is a space where team members can raise their hands about any issue – mental health related or not- and know without a doubt they’ll never be judged. Instead, they’ll be respected for their willingness to speak up about the issue.

Don’t Make Waves, Please

Management doesn’t want to hear about your workplace stress. Ah, that hurts us to even type but it’s often a thought that goes through employees’ minds when they are considering whether to bring up a concern or problem. Again, it all depends on the environment. Safety and respect build the foundation for a positive workplace environment. And that strong foundation means not only do your leaders want to hear from you, but they also want to help if they can. Maybe that means brainstorming together for a solution. Maybe it’s providing a certain type of support. Whatever the case may be, it’s known in the minds of your team that it will be handled with care and respect.

If You Can’t Hack It, Grab Your Jacket

Have you ever heard that you should leave your personal life at the door when you come to work? It’s a common misconception that we all must separate personal life from work life and if you can’t find a healthy balance, well, that’s your problem. With more of us working from home and some of us even working with family and close friends, it’s a bit tough to separate the two. When an issue or matter in our personal lives becomes so overwhelming that we can no longer balance between work and personal responsibilities, employees might assume they’ll have to give up their position. Enter: positive work environment. No matter the personal issue, big or small, a positive work environment is one where an employee feels safe reaching out to a member of their organization to share what’s going on and trusts that the organization will work with them to figure out how to find a healthy balance. They know they’ll be treated with respect throughout the process, and they don’t have to worry about being thought of as weak or incapable because we’re all human. Speaking up and asking for help is seen as a sign of strength.