A Mentally Healthy Workforce: Good for Employee Heath and Good for Business

Mental health problems, such as depression, substance abuse and stress are common and have a direct impact on workplaces through increased absenteeism, reduced productivity and increased costs. 

Did you know that:

  • Each year, one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
  • The stigma and lack of awareness surrounding mental illness is costing America about $193.2 billion each year in potential productivity and wages lost.
  • 70% of those currently employed are searching for others jobs, according to Mental Health America.
  • An unhappy or unhealthy work environment is bad for a businesses’ bottom line and bad for employee health and well-being.
  • Mental health disorders often go unrecognized and untreated- not only damaging and individuals’ health and career, but also reducing productivity at work.

To support employees with mental illnesses, Mental Health America recommends the following actions to create a psychologically healthy workplace for your employees.

  • Educate employees and managers about the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders.
  • Encourage employees to talk about stress, workload, family commitments and other issues.
  • Communicate that mental illnesses are real, common and treatable.
  • Discourage stigmatizing language, including hurtful labels such as “crazy,” “loony” or “nuts.”
  • Invest in mental health benefits, such as Employee Assistance Program.
  • Help employees transition back to work after they take leave.
  • Consult with your employee assistance program.

In addition, the culture of an organization plays a large role in promoting good mental health in your workplace. Some examples of strategies to promote good mental health are:

  • Ensuring there is open and effective communication at all levels of the organization
  • Promoting work-life balance
  • Clearly defining employees’ duties and responsibilities
  • Monitoring workloads to ensure they’re not excessive
  • Ensuring employees have sufficient knowledge, training, skills and resources
  • Allowing staff to have some control over their work day

When implementing a comprehensive worksite wellness initiative be sure to think about programs, policies and supports that promote physical and mental health and well-being. Act now, by creating a health promoting workplace and join the working on wellness movement!