Although mental health is rarely discussed in professional environments, it has a staggering effect on employee productivity and organizational success. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a valuable time to refresh your understanding of mental health symptoms and impacts and how they can be identified and addressed. Here, we discuss common concerns and considerations to help organizations determine how to promote mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Mental health refers to an individual’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It is a crucial factor in productivity, satisfaction, and stress response. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness. In the workplace, some of the warning signs for employee mental health issues include:
If any employees are exhibiting these behaviors, it may indicate that they are experiencing mental health concerns. Common mental health conditions include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse. Identifying these warning signs and providing employees with support is particularly important during the pandemic, as COVID-19 and its associated disruptions have caused an uptick in daily stressors and mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression.
Mental health concerns can impact organizations in a number of ways. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that depression can cause a 35% reduction in cognitive performance and a 20% reduction in physical performance. According to the American Psychiatric Association, unresolved employee depression costs the U.S. economy over $200 billion per year in absenteeism, health care costs, and reduced productivity. Other impacts of mental health include:
There are several strategies that organizations can apply to improve employee mental health and organizational success. Some include:
Mental health stigma can prevent employees from sharing mental health concerns or seeking help, and many employees feel that discussing their mental health can lead to negative repercussions. However, unaddressed mental health concerns can lead to absenteeism, presenteeism, and impacted productivity. Reducing the stigma and addressing workplace mental health discrimination is not only critical for employees who may be struggling, but it helps facilitate a successful and healthy workplace.
Prioritizing mental health in your workplace is critical for both employee and organizational success. Maintaining a mentally healthy workforce will decrease absenteeism and turnover rates and will improve productivity and enrich your working environment. This Mental Health Awareness Month, seek to improve mental health literacy among employees and download this free mental health poster for the workplace.
Additionally, consider how risk intelligence platforms like Vector LiveSafe can help your organization surface actionable intelligence about mental health issues and other concerns in your workplace.