The New Emphasis on Mental Health in the Workplace

Along with physical employee wellness programs, there has recently been a new interest in mental health in the workplace for employees.

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ways to improve mental health in the workplace

As we see a rise in physical wellness programs across US workspaces, we’re also noticing a new interest in improving mental health. As mental health challenges plague the workforce, employers are starting to invest more in their workers’ emotional well-being. Take a look at the current state of mental health in the workplace and how to improve this metric for your employees.

The Mental Health Epidemic

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people suffer from anxiety and depression worldwide. Suicide rates, alcohol and substance abuse, and disabilities from mental health disorders are at an all-time high. Even with access to alarming data and a plethora of treatment options, the state of mental health continues to decline.

These trends are attributed to several societal factors. However, reports show that the workplace plays a significant role in mental health. Low levels of support, inflexible working hours, burnout, and a negative work environment are a few work-related risk factors for this decline in mental health.

So how does this affect employers? Globally, anxiety and depression disorders are estimated to add up to $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. Considering that the workplace can be a leading trigger for mental illness, organizations are taking a stand to fight back against this epidemic.

Every $1 spent on mental health treatment creates a $4 return in improved health and productivity.

Should the Focus be on Employers?

With on-the-job risks at a record high, employers should be proactive by investing in the health of their people. This investment can provide significant returns for employers. In fact, research shows that every $1 spent in treatment creates a $4 return in improved health and productivity.

Building mental strength can also lower rates of absenteeism and health care costs. Not to mention that happy, healthy employees make for a better workplace culture. Improve mental health in the workplace by incorporating intervention strategies into your organization.

How do I Improve Mental Health in the Workplace?

Mental health experts recommend a multi-layered approach to wellness. Poor mental health can have several different risk factors, which means it’s necessary to provide a variety of support options.

Create a safe environment for employees. Co-workers who have a mental illness can experience increased feelings of distress if they don’t feel supported at work. Providing access to counselors and treatment resources help employees feel safe in the workplace.

Enforce a healthy work-life balance. Associates who feel overworked and burnt out often suffer from anxiety and find it difficult to manage stress. Implement a flexible work schedule to better accommodate the needs of team members. A healthy balance can reduce negative work-related triggers.

Help employees recognize the signs of mental illness. Many issues are left untreated when an individual doesn’t know how to identify symptoms. Offer free screenings and educate staff about mental health disorders so they can find help.

Reduce the stigma associated with mental health. Employees are less likely to feel singled out when the company shows support. Make an effort to acknowledge mental illness and treatment options during team meetings and company functions. Offering support will help affected employees feel more comfortable when seeking treatment.

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