4 Ways To Prioritize Mental Health In The Workplace For Moms

Estimated Read Time: 3:30
Executive Summary:
Discover tips for how employers can better support working moms at every stage of parenthood, including:

  • Facilitating a flexible and understanding workplace culture.
  • Communicating available mental health resources and digital tools.
  • Raising awareness of the benefits moms can lean on for support.
  • Destigmatizing postpartum disorders.

Becoming a parent is one of life’s greatest journeys, but it can also be one of the most taxing on physical and mental health, especially for women. Studies show that approximately one in 10 women experience postpartum depression after giving birth, and though many couples aim to split parenting duties evenly, moms can often carry a heavier mental load when it comes to family care and planning.

Here are a few reminders for how your organization can bolster mental health support for working moms every day.

Check your workplace culture.

From returning to work after maternity leave, to taking time off to do those college visits—and everything in between—it’s important to support women throughout their entire parenting journey. Organizations can help by promoting the need for understanding, helping to alleviate the stress that comes with being a working caregiver. Additionally, organizations can encourage customized solutions, like flexible scheduling options that allow women to put their families first. Creating communities within your organization to support women and new parents, such as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), can also be a way for moms to come together and share advice and encouragement.

Offer flexible mental health support.

For moms juggling new transitions and busy schedules, virtual resources that provide around-the-clock access to licensed health professionals and self-management tools can help prioritize mental well-being.

Communicate what benefits and coverage options are available, especially when it comes to teletherapy and easily accessible digital tools like Talkspace and Sanvello. Harvard Pilgrim members can also utilize Ovia Health, which provides daily tips, health data tracking and messaging with medical experts for parents or future parents.

Remind them that your benefits package is here to help.

It’s especially important during transitional times, like before or after maternity leave, to remind working moms of how your benefits package works hard for them so they can worry less. Aside from mental health benefits, remind them of any non-traditional benefits, such as childcare reimbursements or services. These are tremendously beneficial for helping employees balance work and family. Additionally, keeping in mind the financial stress that a growing family can bring, take time to educate them on how pre-tax funds from HSAs can help pay for qualifying family-planning expenses and postpartum care.

According to Canopie, a digital platform that helps to prevent and address symptoms of maternal depression and anxiety, 26 million mothers globally experience maternal mental health conditions. With 70% of moms struggling with their mental health, recognizing how big an impact motherhood has on new moms is the best start in helping to support them.

Educate employees on maternal mental health disorders.

While most think of pregnancy, labor and delivery as “common life experiences,” the reality is that these events often go unnoticed as being traumatic events with real effects on mental health. Here are some quick facts to help employees get educated on common maternal health disorders and what they mean:

  • Postpartum depression. This can begin during pregnancy or in the first few weeks after giving birth. It’s often attributed to a drop in estrogen and progesterone after childbirth, as well as general stressors that increase during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
  • Postpartum general anxiety. According to the American Pregnancy Association, around 10% of women develop anxiety during pregnancy or after childbirth. This persistent anxiety can exhibit itself as restlessness, racing heartbeat, inability to sleep and extreme worry.
  • Birth-related PTSD. The unpredictable process of labor can be traumatic on both a woman’s physical body and her well-being. In fact, nearly 45% of women feel they’ve experienced a traumatic birthing experience. Birth-related PTSD can cause flashbacks and have negative effects on how women approach subsequent childbirths.

Creating awareness of common mental health issues helps to destigmatize them and helps employees feel more comfortable getting help if they need it.

By remaining focused on maternal mental health and offering flexible support, your working moms will be able to maintain a happier, healthier outlook and work-life balance. This is good for business and even better for them.

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