Dragons' Den Jim Treliving weighs in on mental health

As a hugely successful venture capitalist, Treliving knows a thing or two about what makes or breaks a business

Dragons' Den Jim Treliving weighs in on mental health
Mental health awareness is getting support from some serious names, from Olympic athletes to world-renowned business leaders – such as Jim Treliving.

As a hugely successful venture capitalist and star of hit TV show Dragon’s Den, Treliving knows a thing or two about what makes or breaks a business. Now, in conjunction with The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Morneau Shepell, which recently launched 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health, Treliving is speaking out about the importance of aiding workers who suffer in silence.

Speaking to HRD Canada, Treliving gave us his top three tips for HR leaders looking to combat mental health issues in their workplaces.

1. Speak up
“Talk about it to raise awareness and reduce the stigma. Effective communication is key to positive mental health at the workplace. Mental health is a significant issue and while more and more conversations are happening, there is still a stigma attached to it.

“Employees feel reluctant to talk about this at work. Open communication helps with mental health literacy and overcoming this stigma. Discussions around the facts and myths about mental illness is a great first step to creating awareness.

“Provide the employees a safe place to have these discussions and ability to access support for a healthy work life. Every interaction makes a difference.”

2. Don’t hide behind the policies
“One size fits all” approach cannot be applied to the design and development of mental health initiatives at the workplace.

“While it is imperative to have best practices in place such as extended healthcare coverage, an employee assistance program, work life balance policies; factors such as a diverse workforce, evolving workplace culture, globalization of competition, challenging patterns of work, and the fast pace of technological innovations demand that organizations look at mental health issues and how these can be addressed on a case by case basis.

“Your responsibility goes beyond then just providing an EAP brochure to the employee. Listen, ask and understand what the employee is dealing with and adapt your approach accordingly.”

3. Beware of taking full ownership of the issue
“Do not take complete ownership for the success of mental health initiatives at the workplace. Leaders at all levels need to actively endorse the mental health initiatives signifying organizational support towards this cause.

“Educate and empower the leaders on how they can make a difference. Equip these leaders with the right tools so that they can act as brand ambassadors in the organization’s goal to make a difference for the employees through positive mental health. Interacting and helping someone in a mental health crisis is challenging.

“Leaders have influence and control, so they should be the ones initiating and facilitating the ‘how can I help you be successful at work?’ conversations with their team members.”

Related stories:
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Should CEOs share their own mental health struggles?

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