What is the Difference Between Human Resources and Mental Health Specialists in Businesses

As I wrote that question, I thought to myself surly that is obvious! But it can’t be as a common comment we hear here at The Holistic Healthcare Group (HHG) for our specialist mental health support for businesses is ‘HR are putting together the mental health plan’. This is why I thought, maybe it needs to be put out there.

HR do a fantastic job (especially over the last year!) at, well…. HR. This is what they specialise in and have qualifications and experience in. That all makes sense, right? So, let’s take a look at what HR do and where the confusion might be.

The Roles of HR vs Mental Health

HR has many roles and responsibilities, and I am not going to list them here, what I think would be useful to talk about are the ones which might be causing confusion, the ones that have some slight indication they might have something to do with mental health and well-being support.

Training and development

HR – Employers must provide employees with the tools necessary for their success which, in many cases, means giving new employees extensive orientation training to help them transition into a new organizational culture. Many HR departments also provide leadership training and professional development.

Mental Health – Unlike HR we focus on a personal, not business-based approach. Our training and education provided is directed towards the people in the business and teaching them how to establish a better relationship with there emotions and lives as a whole. This in turn benefits the business, happy employees are more productive employees.


HR – Employee relations is the HR discipline concerned with strengthening the employer-employee relationship through measuring job satisfaction, employee engagement and resolving workplace conflict. Labour relations functions may include developing management response to union organizing campaigns, negotiating collective bargaining agreements and rendering interpretations of labour union contract issues.

Mental Health – We will focus on the relationships employees have with themselves, their feelings, their lives and how best to successfully navigate these areas to achieve balance. How to understand their own and others feelings and how to successfully implement tools and strategies when life has its inevitable ups and downs.


HR – Compliance with labour and employment laws is a critical HR function. Noncompliance can result in workplace complaints based on unfair employment practices, unsafe working conditions and general dissatisfaction with working conditions that can affect productivity and ultimately, profitability. HR staff must be aware of federal and state employment laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labour Standards Act, the National Labour Relations Act and many other rules and regulations.

Mental Health – A lot of mental health and well-being modalities are not governed centrally. This means there are a whole host of qualifications people can have and work with in these areas that might not be satisfactory for the task in hand, this can be difficult to navigate unless you know what you are looking for. We source only properly trained therapists and practitioners with the best qualifications, insurance and governing bodies to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the education and support we provide. We can guarantee this as we know what we are looking for.  

Maintaining a safe environment

HR – Workplace safety is an important factor. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers have an obligation to provide a safe working environment for employees. One of the main functions of HR is to support workplace safety training and maintain federally mandated logs for workplace injury and fatality reporting. In addition, HR safety and risk specialists often work closely with HR benefits specialists to manage the company’s workers compensation issues.

Mental Health – This is a great example as health and safety is also a specialised subject, but not one that HR would usually consider taking on. Instead, they outsource this entire plan and implementation to experts in this area which would seem like the sensible thing to do. So why is the same not happening with mental health and well-being, after all people train for many years to have qualifications in this area, it is not something you can learn in a weekend.

Knowing that only 45% of people respond to and get better via counselling we ensure mental health and safety by making sure everyone has an option that works for them, not trying to push them all into one box because that is the only option available. We also ensure they have the information and education to make those choices for themselves. By working with mental health professionals like HHG you have access to a multi-modality company.

People or Business?

They are ultimately trying to ensure the safety and relationships of employees while ensuring the business is doing what it needs to and is legally in a good position should anything go wrong in this area – so they have a conflict of interest, taking care of the business, hiring, disciplinary’s and firing then implementing emotional support systems doesn’t work and unfortunately, I have personally seen evidence of this many times.

HR are there to ensure the people and relationships in the business are working well and everyone is safe. It is a complex job (we haven’t really even scratched the surface here) and they are usually incredibly busy professionals.

Mental health companies like HHG are here to insure you have emotionally balanced, well rounded and happy employees at work and at home. We are here to deploy our expertise in people, feelings, emotions, mental health and well-being to ensure your employees have a fundamental education on their own emotions, how to manage them and thrive while also ensuring they have adequate support should things become too difficult to manage on their own. Support from an outside source – not the same people that hire and fire them!