October 10th is World Mental Health Day. Did you know that 1 in 5 Massachusetts adults struggle with depression?1 In fact, over 10% of working-aged Massachusetts adults reported 15+ days of poor mental health in the previous month!1 Why is this an issue for Massachusetts employers? We know that depression alone accounts for a 17% loss in productivity every year.2 Employees can also experience high levels of stress from demanding workloads, financial issues, and health concerns. By creating an environment to address mental health issues and providing tools and policies to manage stress, organizations can improve employee health while increasing productivity and retaining top-quality employees.
So what can Massachusetts employers do to address mental health in the workplace? The first step is to assess employee needs. It’s important to understand your workforce’s needs to deliver the best programs, interventions, and workplace policies. Working on Wellness provides evidence-based surveys for you to gather information on your workforce without compromising employee confidentiality.
Once you understand employee needs, you can think about mental health programs and policies. Scan your community for resources! Does your organization have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? EAPs can provide referrals to mental health professionals and other resources while maintaining confidentiality. Some experts offer financial wellness classes at low to no cost, and local massage schools might give free student massages to reduce stress. There are other types of stress reduction classes such as meditation. In addition to these programs, employers can change organizational culture by implementing work options such as flexible scheduling and telecommuting. Leadership support is key in addressing mental health at the workplace. Organizational leaders can talk about mental health in public forums to reduce stigma in the workplace.
How else can your organization support your employees in their journey to improve mental health?
- Join Working on Wellness to develop your own evidence-based worksite wellness program with support from experts, a collaborative community and seed funding!
- Sign up for our newsletter and keep checking mawow.org for updates.
- Explore this website www.destressmonday.org to keep your Monday spirits high as well as this mental health website www.mantherapy.org for men that might not appreciate “traditional” mental health resources.
 Massachusetts BRFSS 2013.
 Chenoweth, D. Promoting Employee Well-Being: Wellness Strategies to Improve Health, Performance and The Bottom Line. SHRM Foundation.