According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five people experience a mental illness at any given time. Depression – one of the most common mood disorders – is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
The World Health Organization connects the prevalence of these mental health problems to decreased work performance, absenteeism, accidents, substance abuse and higher employee turnover rates. Because of the unique role of companies play in the lives of employees, managers often serve as the first line of defense against these issues and are uniquely poised to support employees:
The Impact of Mental Health
Contributing to employees’ mental health is also a sound business practice. In their e-book “Bad for Business,” NAMI Massachusetts highlighted some powerful statistics on mental health’s effect on the workplace:
- Employees experiencing depression lose 35% of productivity each week.
- Individuals with anxiety disorders showed an average loss of 4.6 work days due to disability in the past month.
- Workers who received high-quality treatment for depression over two years experienced a 28% improvement in absenteeism and a 91% improvement in presenteeism.
- Each dollar invested mental health initiatives at work generates $2.30 for the participating organization.
How to Support Mental Health at Work
For most employers, the first step in fostering positive mental health is to erase the shame around disorders. Organizations such as CEO’s Against Stigma offer valuable tools for executives who have the influence to shape conversations in the workplace. Because most people suffer from mental health disorders alone, a simple call to action or voice of support can empower employees who didn’t know they benefited from organizational support. Many people with mental health problems consult with the likes of Georgia Behavioral Health Professionals to discover ways in which to overcome various conditions that may be affecting their day-to-day lives.
Furthermore, one of the most important things to remember about mental health is that there are so many different treatments and natural remedies out there that can make life a little easier for people who live with conditions such as anxiety or depression. This means that, although for some of your employees, counselling might be the best way for them to manage their mental health, others might prefer to use natural remedies such as the best CBD oil instead. In case you were not aware, there is a lot of research to suggest that products infused with CBD might be able to help people living with various mental health conditions. Ultimately, as an employer, it is your responsibility to be mindful of these different approaches and to respect the privacy of your staff.
Although it’s not legal to ask employees if they experience mental health issues, individuals who observe a radical change in the behavior of a colleague can offer assistance. Barbara Wilson, CEO of Family Continuity, suggests in the Boston Globe that when managers or coworkers notice a dramatic change, they encourage a comfortable dialogue. During a confidential conversation, offer personal support. Direct supervisors also consider giving the employee time off or adjusting his or her schedule to accommodate treatment.