From classrooms to boardrooms, mental health is a major topic of discussion as so many people face unprecedented stress, anxiety, depression and burnout in the post-pandemic world. As we’re learning, these mental health challenges make it hard for employees to do their best.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, untreated mental illness can cost companies up to $300 billion annually, largely due to its impact on productivity, absenteeism and increased costs. medical and disability costs. Acknowledging and responding to employees’ mental health needs can help build a culture of understanding, end stigma, and increase overall productivity. Where to start?
Acknowledgment of mental illness
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, each year, nearly one in five American adults experience a mental health challenge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports depression as the leading cause of disability in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44, yet 80% of workers with mental illness say it’s bad. Tiger and stigma have prevented them from seeking treatment.
As an employer, when you acknowledge that mental illness is real, it puts people at ease and builds trust and compassion in the workplace. As acceptance and understanding extend beyond the HR team and come from leadership, a cultural change within the organization begins to occur. Leaders who share their own mental health struggles and/or simply admit that “it’s okay to feel bad” is the starting point for creating a stigma-free environment .
Cultivate a culture of caring beyond employees
Life is complicated and employees often carry the burden of their own struggles and that of their family members. Over a five-year period (2016-2020), the number of anxiety diagnoses in children increased by 27%, and behavioral or behavioral problems diagnosed in children increased by 21%. At the same time, the mental health of parents/carers decreased by 70%.
Mental health affects everyone in the family unit. Recognizing these challenges, discuss adjustments to support employees and their families, and connect them to benefits and resources available to all family members who can. building a culture that embraces mental health.
Take advantage of resources
A recent report by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 94% of HR professionals believe that providing mental health resources can improve an employee’s overall well-being. Additionally, the survey found that 88% of HR professionals say mental health benefits can boost productivity, with 86% saying these resources can also improve employee retention.
There are many resources available for employers committed to being mental health champions. Here are a few places to start:
- Mental health toolkit includes fact sheets on six common conditions that can affect employees both inside and outside the workplace. It also includes education on where to guide care workers depending on their unique situation.
- Mental Health First Aid is an interactive virtual training course from the National Council on Mental Health that provides real-world skills to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental challenges and use disorders. drug use.
- Mental Health First Aid at Work is a mental health training program that teaches participants how to notice and support individuals who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use concern or crisis in the environment. workplace and connect them to the right staff and community resources.