The 4 A’s of a Mental Health-Friendly Workplace
The Workplace Mental Health Toolkit, a web-based resource developed by the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), helps employers understand how to foster a mental health-friendly work culture through an easy-to-follow framework known as the “4 A’s.”
The unprecedented challenges of 2020, along with increased understanding about the prevalence of mental health conditions, is causing more and more employers to consider ways they can support their employees’ mental health.
For assistance, employers can turn to the Workplace Mental Health Toolkit developed by the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) in collaboration with its funding entity, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). In addition to information and tools, this web-based resource presents an easy-to-follow employer framework for fostering a mental health-friendly workplace, centered around four pillars referred to as the “4 A’s” – awareness, accommodations, assistance, and access.
- Awareness involves strategies for educating employers and workers about mental health issues and taking action to foster a supportive workplace culture.
- Accommodations means providing employees with mental health conditions the supports they need to perform their job. Common examples include flexible work arrangements and/or schedules, which may be considered reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or other disability nondiscrimination laws.
- Assistance refers to helping employees who have, or may develop, a mental health condition, something many employers do through formal employee assistance programs (EAPs).
- Access encourages employers to assess company healthcare plans to ensure or increase coverage for behavioral/mental health treatment, which benefits not only individuals, but also the bottom line. According to the American Psychiatric Association, more than 80 percent of employees treated for mental health conditions report improved levels of efficiency and satisfaction at work.
The Mental Health Toolkit also provides summaries of research and examples of mental health initiatives implemented by employers of varying sizes and industries. One example is a case study on a multinational company’s innovative approach to addressing the issue across its global workforce.
To learn more, visit AskEARN.org/mentalhealth