Depression and mental health disorders are currently on the rise, with over 264 million people impacted worldwide. Poor mental health not only affects the quality of life and overall health of an individual, it can also affect companies and the economy if not addressed.
Mental illness is so prevalent that it’s likely at least one person in your company suffers from some form of mental health issue. As a result, it’s crucial to know how to spot the signs and support our coworkers effectively in the workplace.
Overview of Mental Health in the Workplace
Mental health can significantly impact an employee’s performance. If a person is not in an optimal mental state to work, it will negatively affect their productivity and capability. It may also hamper communication and cooperation with teammates and coworkers.
Even a minor mental health issue, such as slight depression, can quickly get out of control over time. A big concern for employers is that employees with occupational mental health issues may require higher healthcare costs than their healthy counterparts.
Mental Health in the Workplace: Statistics
Depressed employees only complete 80% of their daily tasks, functioning only at 65% of their mental capacity. Despite this, only around 50% of employees who reported issues of mental health at work received treatment for it. The result of this oversight costs businesses an estimated $1 trillion worldwide.
On the flip side, there is a significant upside for companies who invest in mental health in the workplace. A recent study by the World Health Organization concluded that the return on investment for every $1 spent on mental health treatment and prevention is $4 in recovered productivity.
Risk Factors for Mental Health Issues in the Workplace
Many workplace factors can worsen symptoms of mental illness.
Job demands are one of the most common stressors. An unreasonable workload, long working hours, and a role that’s not suited to a person’s interests or skills can negatively impact their mental health.
The work environment is another critical factor. A toxic company culture, office politics, or harassment from coworkers can take a mental toll on employees. Even the lack of social or emotional support from bosses and teammates can foster or worsen feelings of depression and anxiety.
Even with a healthy environment and workload, employees without a sense of purpose and job satisfaction can still experience problems with their mental health in the workplace. Struggling with an unclear role, a lack of control over job functions, or the lack of decision-making opportunities are all things that can contribute to poor mental health.
How to Create a Better Workplace
Creating a better work environment is one of the best ways for an employer to promote positive corporate mental health. An excellent place to start is to look at what other companies are doing to improve employee health.
The key is to focus on a positive work atmosphere, starting with how you give feedback. Too many managers and employers are accustomed to negative reinforcement, which can result in depressive feelings. Instead, highlight the employees’ strengths and successes. When you do need to deliver negative feedback, frame it positively.
Ensure you have enough employees relative to the demands of your operations to keep burnout at a minimum. Give employees access to mental health professionals and therapists as part of their benefits — resources an integrated healthcare platform like Eden Health can provide.
Lastly, spotting mental health issues is as important as addressing them. Train managers and supervisors to identify signs of mental stress and develop effective strategies to deal with them.
Supporting People with Mental Illness in the Workplace
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 20.6% of American adults have a mental disorder in any given year. This means that you can still have an employee who suffers from mental issues even with the best workplace environment. Rather than ignore this, businesses have an opportunity to support them.
It’s essential to be flexible with these employees. For example, you can adjust their roles or work hours to promote a better work environment or address sources of stress. Consistent support and confidential communication from managers are also important.
Letting employees take time off work can also be beneficial. If an employee is seeking resources to better look after their mental health, make sure you have a list of resources they can reference. An integrated healthcare package like Eden Health can make it easier for you to provide comprehensive resources so they can focus on coping and recovery.
Make Both Work and Mental Health a Priority
Having an integrated healthcare platform like Eden Health is the easiest way to promote workplace mental health. Employees can access a team of medical and mental health providers, all on a convenient mobile app.
When mental health in the workplace is made a priority, it can help you attract and retain productive employees. Contact us today for more information on Eden Health.