According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it is estimated that more than 1 in 5 US adults live with a mental illness. Additionally, the US Department of Labor estimates that about 63% of Americans are part of the US labor force. Long story short, a huge percentage of our workforce struggles with mental health challenges, which not only impacts personal well-being, but also the well-being of a team and the success of an overall business.
The key takeaway from these statistics is that mental health matters in all aspects of life, including in the world of corporate America. With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, there has never been a better time to evaluate the effects of mental health in your workplace and expand on the ways you can support those who are living with mental health disorders. At the end of the day, good mental health is good business.
How Poor Mental Health Hinders Business
- Job Performance & Productivity: According to the CDC, depression costs the economy about $210.5 billion annually due to productivity loss and absenteeism. Unresolved depression reduces productivity by an estimated 35%.
- Burnout & Retention: Chronic stress and frustration at work can lead to burnout, which in turn creates feelings of physical and emotional exhaustion, detachment, and cynicism. Additionally, according to a recent study by Mind Share Partners, Qualtrics and SAP reveals that 75% of Gen Zers have left a job for mental health reasons.
Related Post: Employee Bournout Isn’t Welcome Here – The How, The What, and The Why
Workplace Factors That Hurt Mental Health
- An ever-increasing, unrealistic workload
- A workplace that allows bullying, harassment, or abuse
- A lack of support, resources, or safety practices
- A lack of training, guidance, or clear expectations
- A lack of clear and meaningful communication from managers
Ways to Improve Mental Health at Work
- Invest in Mental Health Benefits & Programs: A recent study by the American Psychology Association reveals that over 80% of people say a company’s mental health culture and benefits are deciding factors in taking a job opportunity. Mental health benefits include:
- Designated meditation and rest rooms
- Free mental health counseling and life coaching
- Providing mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programs
- Offering free or discounted mental wellness apps
- Prioritize Leadership Training: In a study by BusinessSolver, 92% of employees said they would be more likely to stay with a job if their bosses showed more empathy. Leaders who are compassionate and educated on mental health subjects increase business ROI in the realm of employee retention, wellbeing, and productivity. This kind of training also opens a space for conversations surrounding mental health and helps employees feel more comfortable in discussing mental health with managers.
- Focus on Recognition & Appreciation: Creating a culture of appreciation increases feelings of self-worth and productivity. As said by best-selling author Stephen M. R. Covey, “Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, the be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.” Here are some ways to implement recognition and appreciation at work:
- Give out employee appreciation gifts
- Write a note or send an email letting your employees know they are appreciated
- Give out gift cards to a favorite local restaurant
- Give shoutouts at meetings or weekly huddles
In the workplace, a focus on mental health is beneficial for all parties involved: the employees, the teams they are a part of, and the business as a whole. When companies invest in the mental health of their employees, they are helping their business grow financially and culturally. It’s a win-win-win-win-win-WIN.
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