The Business Record's Power Breakfast on Wednesday morning will feature advice from four local business experts with experience in dealing with mental health in the workplace.

 

You can still register today at businessrecord.com/events for the 7 a.m. breakfast at the Des Moines Embassy Club downtown. 

 

Based on an earlier discussion with the four panelists who will speak at the breakfast, here is a list of do's and don'ts for businesses to deal proactively and effectively with the issue.

 

DON'T: Ignore symptoms of potential mental or emotional problems in an employee, including change in mood, acting more distracted than usual, a productivity decline or other unexplained behaviors, says Tammy Hoyman, CEO of Employee and Family Resources.

 

DO: If you notice these things, approach your employee with concern and offer to help him or her get back on track - Hoyman.

 

DO: Create an office culture that promotes and includes work-life balance, fair time-off policies, employee assistance programs and wellness initiatives - Hoyman.

 

DO: Understand and document the required qualifications and job functions of every employee position, says Ann Holden Kendell, an attorney with BrownWinick law firm. With that framework in place, you can focus on what is needed for the employee to perform his job, instead of focusing on medical issues or veering into assumptions or stigma.

 

DO: Provide your employees with appropriate benefits and a work environment that recognizes mental health is just as important as physical health, advisesBeth Nigut, senior vice president Human Resources, EMC Insurance Co.

 

DO: Employees should recognize and work toward mental fitness through a personal work-life balance that includes regular time spent with family and friends outside of work, says Matt Connolly, a mental health advocate and Realtor with Iowa Realty. One of Connolly's strategies is to structure his routine to share a daily meal with family.