Mental health conditions affect millions of Americans, with more than 25% of people in any given year experiencing some kind of anxiety, depression or other condition, according to Mental Health America (MHA).
The ensuing fatigue, loss of energy, persistent sadness and more not only impact personal lives, but also carry over into professional lives with a loss of concentration, absenteeism and short-term disability.
Mental health conditions strike many Americans in their productive working years, and the results are so severe that World Health Organization research shows that mental health conditions cause greater disability than cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and diabetes.
A Burgeoning Crisis
In fact, mental illness, along with substance abuse, ultimately costs U.S. employers an estimated $80 billion to $100 billion in indirect costs each year, according to the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health.
Experts say employers need to understand that they also have a stake in addressing this burgeoning mental health crisis. Consider:
* Happier people are more successful at work. They are more willing to help out co-workers and customers, describe their jobs in a more positive light and perform better on objective, work-related tasks.
* They also tackle a wider range of job tasks, defend their organizations and cope better with organizational change.
“When people are in better mental and emotional states, they’re going to produce more and do a better job,” said Craig Modell, a psychologist and the owner and director of the four Stress Management & Mental Health Clinics in the Milwaukee area.
Unfortunately, all too often, depressed employees do not seek treatment because they fear the effect it will have on their jobs, according to the MHA. Plus, they are concerned about confidentiality.
Left untreated, depression is as costly as heart disease or AIDS to the U.S. economy, costing more than $51 billion in work absenteeism and lost productivity and $26 billion in direct treatment costs, the MHA says.
It is a personal decision whether or not an employee wants to disclose his or her mental health condition to an employer, but it is important for employees to have a conversation with their supervisor, HR or EAP about what the employer can do to help them be more productive.
For instance, instead of an employee saying, “I have depression,” he or she can say, “I’m having concentration issues. This is what you can do to help me.” One solution for the employee might be closing the office door for a few hours to help him or her focus on work.
While mental illnesses are more common than many people realize, recovery is very common, as 65 to 80% of individuals with mental disorders improve with appropriate diagnosis, treatment and ongoing monitoring.
The key, of which EA professionals play an important role, lies in increasing awareness and overcoming stigma. It doesn’t just help individual employees, improving mental health boosts bottom lines, too.
Additional source: “Biz Times.” The complete article can be found at: http://www.biztimes.com/article/20150323/MAGAZINE03/150329989/0/Law