How important is Mental Health to your Workplace?
By: Joshua Williams
On the topic of improving the ‘bottom line’ there is a lot to discuss. Attracting the right talent, stellar sales and marketing strategies, more efficient operations; all of which can lead to a better performing business. Entire industries and firms exist solely to help companies obtain clarity on the challenges they face and the obstacles preventing optimal operation. And while there is merit to these prescriptions, a crucial component to increased employee performance is often absent from the conversation: mental health.
As a culture that thrives off information, it might come as a surprise to many that 1 in 5 employees experience a mental health problem and that 1 in 6 Americans benefit from the use of psychiatric drugs. These staggering statistics translate into annual costs ranging from $79-$105 billion dollars for employers according to The Center for Prevention and Health. These costs stem from reduced employee engagement (resulting in underperformance), mounting healthcare costs, employee absence and more. Mental health, in addition to constructing barriers in individual’s lives, wreak havoc upon a tumultuous healthcare system and employers and employees alike often are left with the financial and emotional tab. With such intimidating prevalence into today’s hard-pressed culture, what can businesses do to support employees’ positive mental health? As it happens, companies can do a lot:1. Make mental health a priority in company culture
This includes promoting a healthy work life balance, allowing for mental health days, and creating a positive environment that reduces work stress and anxiety among employees. Company culture starts from the top and having leadership bought into the health and wellbeing of its employees will go a long way to sculpting employee physical and mental health.
2. Provide resources for employees
This includes buying into health and wellness programs, allocating mental health PTO, and providing trainings to better educate employees on how to maintain good mental health. A lot of the work can be done at the individual level but the proper tools and encouragement are the key.
3. Become educated on mental health
To best provide a solution, a thorough understanding of the problem is required. Thus, business leaders should strive to learn as much as possible about mental health, how it appears in the workplace and how best to support and help employees.
To get started in learning more, the Louisville Society for Human Resource Management will be hosting “Fact or Fiction: Let’s Talk Mental Health and the ADA”—a workshop dedicated to educating employers on mental health facts and providing best practices on addressing mental health issues in the workplace. The presentation will occur on October 10th from 11:30-1:30 PM at the UofL Delphi Center and will feature Kelly Gannon, COO of Centerstone Kentucky and Arika Mack-Brown, Sr. Trial Attorney for the EEOC Indianapolis District Office.
For those interested in learning more or registering for the event, information and details can be found at LSHRM’s website located here.