Employers spend a lot of time and money to improve their employees’ physical health. But many may be forgetting mental health. It can have a big impact on a workforce’s productivity, and therefore, the bottom line.
“The prevalence of mental health conditions in the United States and the potential cost of these lost workdays demonstrate why it is important for employers to recognize the impact of mental health support in the workplace,” writes Erin McGinty for Employee Benefit News. “Without improved treatment, the world will lose 12 billion workdays to depression and anxiety disorders alone by 2030, according to World Health Organization estimates.”
A stigma associated with mental health issues may be keeping employers from tackling this issue or providing resources for employees facing mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression.
“According to a 2016 mental health report, 56 percent of employers say they would not hire someone with depression, a condition that reportedly affects one in 10 Americans,” McGinty writes.
To move toward a more supportive environment, human resources professionals can train managers on how to talk with their employees about mental health, and help reduce the idea that discussing mental health is taboo within the workplace.
“As the backbone of successful companies and the people most in-tune with employees, human resources departments are key in reversing this stigma,” McGinty writes. “HR’s unique top-level vantage point is the ideal mechanism to facilitate organizational change in order to break down existing misconceptions and minimize potential legal claims.”
Companies that make an effort to support their employees with depression or anxiety may see better attendance, as well as an improved culture, as well.
“Team building and team bonding exercises are great ways to reduce the number of sick days employees with depression or anxiety take when dealing with particularly difficult days,” Cort Olsen writes for Employee Benefit Adviser.
Look for ways to allow employees having issues to stay engaged and functional in your workplace.
“While some employers are quick to hand out personal time for employees suffering from mental health issues, for many, staying at work is the best thing for their mental well-being,” writes Carly Greenwood for In the Black. “It’s also essential that managers offer their employees the support they need, treating each employee on a case-by-case basis and adjusting accordingly.”