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How can we include mental health in our new hire orientation?

Orientation is an employee’s first impression of the company’s mission, values, and culture. It is often associated with a long checklist of documents to sign and topics to cover; however, values about employee well-being should be clearly communicated to new employees as part of that process. 

A company who incorporates mental health from the start can ensure that new employees are aware of the available resources, contributing to a culture where employees can address any concerns that may arise on the job. In addition to explaining the benefits and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services your company offers, consider including general mental health information and additional resources such as screening tools or how to locate support groups for varying mental health concerns. The Mental Health Resource Guide was developed by MHA to help employers provide their employees the appropriate mental health and substance use resources depending on the company’s needs.

Ensure support systems are in place to help employees manage the transition into the company and any related stress. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), pairing a new employee with a coworker can promote a feeling of comfort and acceptance and provide the employee with ongoing support beyond orientation. Implementing a “buddy system” is a cost-effective, generally applicable method to help new employees navigate informal social and workplace cultural norms. Additionally, have HR or supervisors check in on the employee’s emotional and mental support needs alongside job training within the first couple of months of the employee’s start date. Access the full SAMHSA Orientation Toolkit here.

One quick and easy resource to reference is free, confidential, and anonymous online mental health screening to help employees determine whether they are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. MHA offers online screening tools for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol and substance use, early psychosis, work health, as well as screenings that are youth-focused and parent-focused. After completing their screening, individuals receive immediate results, education, resources, and linkage to affiliates.

If your company is interested in better understanding the needs of your employees, consider becoming an Associate Member of MHA. Members receive custom links to MHA’s online mental health screening tools (which collect over 3,000 screens daily and have provided over 5000,000 total mental health screens to date). For more information, please click here.

If applicable, consider adding the suicide prevention lifeline, EAP contact, or other resources on employees’ identification cards

More Information:

What mental health resources can be easily shared with staff?

What additional resource supports can we offer?

How can we encourage employees to use their PTO?


Associate Membership

Mental Health Resource Guide

MHA’s Online Mental Health Screening

SAMHSA Orientation Toolkit

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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