Mental Health Matters at Work
Creating a Culture of Health
On average 1 in 5 U.S. adults will experience mental health illness in their life. In a workplace, 1 in 10 full time employees have an addiction.
Mental health affects your emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. In the workplace, communication and inclusion are keys skills for successful high performing teams or employees. The impact of mental health to an organization can mean an increase of absent days from work and a decrease in productivity and engagement. In the United States, approximately 70% of adults with depression are in the workforce. Employees with depression will miss an estimated 35 million workdays a year due mental illness. Those workers experiencing unresolved depression are estimated to encounter a 35% drop in their productivity, costing employers $105 billion dollars each year.
So what can employers do? It’s called Mental Health First Aid.
Provided by the National Council for Behavioral Health, Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to notice and support an individual who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use concern or crisis and connect them with the appropriate employee resources. It teaches employees critical communication and support skills that can influence your organizations bottom line.
Research shows that employees who go through Mental Health First Aid have an increased awareness of mental health among themselves and their co-workers. It allows them to recognize the signs of someone who maybe struggling and teaches them the skills to know when to reach out and what resources are available. Which in turn creates beneficial intervention that increases engagement and creates an environment of inclusion and support.
Employers can also offer robust benefit packages to support employees who go through mental health issues. That includes Employee Assistance Programs, Wellness programs that focus on mental and physical health, Health and Disability Insurance or flexible working schedules or time off policies.
Organizations that incorporate mental health awareness help to create a healthy and productive work environment that reduces the stigma associated with mental illness, increases the organizations mental health literacy and teaches the skills to safely and responsibly respond to a co-workers mental health concern.
Incorporating mental health awareness in the workplace can help lead the way for mental health issues throughout your community by equipping people with the tools they need to start a dialogue so that more people can get the help they need.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Council for Behavioral Health