Importance of Addressing Mental Health Blog

The Importance of Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace

Three-fourths of employees struggle with mental health. It's an issue that costs U.S. businesses roughly $100 billion annually.1 Despite the pervasiveness and cost, discussing challenges and providing adequate support is difficult. Yet, it's vital to address mental health not only for the impacts on productivity, but also your employees' total-wellness. 

What we know:

  • Work can be good for mental health, but a negative working environment can lead to physical and mental health problems.
  • Depression and anxiety have a significant economic impact; the estimated cost to the global economy is roughly $1 trillion.1
  • Harassment and bullying at work are commonly reported problems and can have a substantial adverse impact on mental health.

Even with knowing these factors associated with mental health there are a multitude of reasons discussing and addressing these concerns are difficult – some of the greatest being the stigma these challenges carry (for both the employer and the employee), perceived internal barriers, and its sometimes episodic nature.

Now more than ever, it's important for employers to address mental health in the workplace. In a recent study, 90% of employees agree that employers have the responsibility to support mental health, and 85% report that behavioral health services are important when evaluating a new job.1

 While mental health can sometimes feel abstract, here are a few things you can do to promote a healthy, safe and meaningfully conscious work environment:

  • Offer a variety of solutions outside of core benefits. Gym membership discounts, community events, mental health co-pay options etc. are vital to the total well-being of employees.
  • Provide educational resources to empower awareness and enrollment. Webinars are a relatively easy and 'private' way to support and educate individuals in the workplace.
  • Cultivate a culture of health and respect rather than relying on outside programs. Creating innovative plans and practices that are unique help ensure employees feel seen, heard, valued, and prevent burnout.
  • Continually seek employee feedback on opportunities and engagement - Establishing an open and accepting culture - be it an online form, an anonymous forum, or a regular emailed survey can help keep you in touch with the challenges and achievements employees are facing.

As mentioned above, outside solutions are ready and waiting to support employers in providing mental health benefits. But just implementing solutions doesn't mean employees will participate. Mental health benefits have to be convenient to access in a stigma-free environment. What better way to do that than with personal devices such as tablets and smartphones? In fact, 75 percent of employees are more likely to use behavioral health benefits accessible from their smartphones.2

Find out more about how employers are addressing and meeting mental health needs in the workplace with digital solutions on the on-demand webinar The Unseen Epidemic: Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace

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Sources:

1. “Mental Health and Chronic Disease CDC Fact Sheet” https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/tools-resources/pdfs/issue-brief-no-2-mental-health-and-chronic-disease.pdf

2. World Health Organization, Mental Health in the Workplace Infographic, Sept 2017