Should Managers Receive Trauma Training?

Training managers in trauma can decrease employee's sick leaves and improve their mental health, showing high cost-effectiveness.
Boss helping staff around a table.

In an article in Psychology Today published on October 16 by Sarah Greenberg, the question is posed as to whether managers in companies should receive trauma training. There were three main points in the article:

  1. While work is generally good for mental health, a negative work environment is a mental health risk factor.
  2. Managers have a greater influence on employee mental health than therapists or doctors.
  3. Some research points to the promise of empowering managers as mental health champions in the workplace.

Over 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental health challenges every year. More than half of individuals in middle‐ and high‐income countries will experience at least one psychological disorder in their lives. And depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

It was noted how important work environments are to the mental health of employees. Managers have more capacity to impact the mental health of their employees than therapists since most people spend 2/3 of their lives at work. 

New Research

New research points to the promise of empowering managers as mental health champions in the workplace. At the end of 2017, The Lancet Psychiatry published a novel study showing the benefits of giving managers just four hours of training on mental health. Specifically, the researchers found that after six months, the managers’ direct reports had an 18% reduction in work-related sick time off (while the control group had a 10% increase).

Based on this reduction in work-related sick time off, their cost-benefit analysis concluded that every dollar invested in training yielded a $9.98 return. The study was conducted with a large Australian fire and rescue service, and according to lead author Professor Samuel Harvey, more research is needed to understand if we’d see similar benefits in other populations and work settings.

Since so many of us share a workplace environment, it would seem that we would include in managerial training some training in trauma and adversity. I believe that it would bring a new lens for managers as they deal with their employees, particularly when there are some conflictual issues that are related to the impact of trauma in their lives.

Trauma-Informed Workshops

It’s why Lakeside Global Institute has produced a significant number of trauma-informed workshops that range from a basic understanding of the impact of trauma and the skills of trauma, to how racism and trauma interrelate. We have found these short workshops have had a major impact in the lives of leaders and even corporations.

Having a basic understanding of trauma can improve sensitivity to these types of issues and create a healthier work environment for our employees.

For more information, learn how to provide trauma training to managers in your company.

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