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A Manager’s Guide to Building Psychological Safety Around Mental Health at Work

When your employees show up for work, whether remotely or onsite, do they feel safe, respected, valued, and empowered to do their best work? Are they able to be their whole self? After more than a year of unprecedented times—including a global pandemic, political upheaval, and racial injustice—the mental health effects on everyone have been significant. More than ever, the need for psychological safety in regard to mental health at work is becoming increasingly crucial.

What is psychological safety?

According to Joe Grasso, Ph.D., senior director of workforce mental health at Lyra, psychological safety is defined as “Feeling like you can acknowledge the struggle, ask for help, or offer a dissenting opinion or concern at work without being penalized.” In a world where work-life boundaries are increasingly blurring and the stress of pandemics and politics has a direct impact on the quality of life of individuals, psychological safety at work is a must.

The responsibility of creating this type of environment may seem daunting, but there are many ways that employers can achieve this and boost overall job satisfaction and productivity. What follows are some key steps your organization can take to help cultivate a psychologically safe workplace.

Here are six ways you can create an environment of psychological safety for your employees at work:

  1. Demonstrate empathy
  2. Promote casual check-ins
  3. Navigate the intersection of mental health challenges and productivity with care and compassion
  4. Make sure your BIPOC employees’ unique mental health needs are seen and supported
  5. Foster a safe, trusting, and inclusive environment
  6. Break the silence around mental health


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