Improving Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joined RBC Capital Markets to host a workshop on improving mental wellbeing at work.

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Published May 30, 2024 | 3 min read

Key Points

  • Good mental health is the foundation for a fulfilling workday, feeling productive, and bringing your best self to your role.

  • Practicing basic mindfulness can help alleviate negative stress and help us be intentional and engaged with our work.

  • Recognizing and addressing the causes of burnout can help lessen the impact and provide opportunities to refocus on our overall wellbeing.

  • Fostering a mentally healthy workplace requires a collective effort from everyone involved. With practical strategies for self-care and a supportive culture, work can be a place where everyone thrives both personally and professionally.

Demanding workloads and busy schedules often lead us to deprioritize our mental and emotional needs at work. This can directly impact performance, productivity, and team dynamics, in addition to burnout and longer-term health issues.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a RBC Foundation USA partner, is dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental health. At a recent employee event led by Jennifer Grazel, Global Head, Client and Marketing Strategy, RBC Capital Markets, NAMI’s Meg Delp, Director of Workplace Mental Health, shared insights and practical advice for refocusing on our mental wellbeing at work.

What does positive mental health look like?

A good analogy for thinking about mental health, according to Delp, is to simply think about how our brain functions on a day-to-day basis. That includes managing stress, adapting to challenges, and functioning in a way that feels productive and not overwhelming. It also includes maintaining a sense of engagement, belonging, and social connection.

Good mental health is the foundation for a fulfilling workday, feeling productive, and bringing your best self to your role.

Making time for mindfulness and selfcare

When the internal and external stressors in our lives build up, it leads to anxiety and stress that can negatively impact our mental health and effectiveness at work or anywhere in life.

Practicing basic mindfulness can help alleviate negative stress and help us be intentional and engaged with our work. Finding time may seem challenging, but it can be as simple as taking short pauses, even if it’s just 30 seconds between meetings.  

“These pauses, even if brief, are essential because they allow for moments of mindfulness and self-reflection, contributing to improved focus and productivity,” says Delp.

It is also very easy to overlook how we care for other parts of our lives. Taking care of our physical selves, making sure we get enough sleep, eat properly, and are active can have a positive influence on our mental health.

“Taking a pause from reading the news and being intentional about the media that we’re consuming can also have a huge impact on our daily anxiety and stress levels.”

Meg Delp, Director of Workplace Mental Health, NAMI

Navigating burnout

Burnout occurs when high levels of stress go unaddressed, and eventually, our brains can no longer function. Recognizing and addressing the causes can help lessen the impact and provide opportunities to refocus on our overall wellbeing.

“These are actually things we can and should work on every day,” says Delp “to improve our overall mental health.”

  1. Managing workloads

    Learning strategies to address your workload, including prioritizing tasks and goal setting, is one of the best ways to reduce stress.

  2. Looking for autonomy in your work

    Identifying areas in your day, job, and home life where you have control can significantly reduce feelings of helplessness and anxiety.

  3. Rewarding yourself

    Recognizing your good workserves as positive reinforcement, can make work more enjoyable, and counteract the negative emotions that contribute to burnout.

  4. Leaning on your community

    Looking for ways to build and engage in community and with different people alleviates feelings of isolation and disengagement and can help you process challenges more effectively.

  5. Supportive environments

    Being treated fairly and treating others the way we want to be treated goes a long way to creating a supportive environment that reduces stress and enhances overall job satisfaction.

  6. Aligning your values

    When your personal values, like productivity or community, are aligned with your work, you are more likely to be satisfied, engaged, and resilient, all of which help protect against burnout.

Even if you work them on one at a time, these items can help prevent burnout or resolve it if you've already reached that level of stress.

Creating healthier environments for everyone

Fostering a mentally healthy workplace requires a collective effort from everyone involved. With practical strategies for self-care and a supportive culture, work can be a place where everyone thrives both personally and professionally.

If you or someone you know is struggling with burnout or a mental health concern, you are not alone. There are many support services and treatment options that may help.

The NAMI HelpLine is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

Call 1-800-950-6264

Chat or text “HelpLine” to 62640

In a crisis? Call or text 988 24/7.


About NAMI

The RBC Foundation USA is proud to support and partner with NAMI, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental health conditions.

NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need. NAMI offers support and education programs for families and individuals living with mental health conditions.

Learn more about NAMI

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