Addressing workplace mental health issues is critical to employee wellness – and the success of your business
May 11, 2015
Your employees’ mental health can have a big impact on productivity, employee retention and, ultimately, your bottom line. In fact, according to an article commissioned by BMO Harris, mental health and substance abuse disorders are costing American businesses an estimated $80 to $100 billion annually.
Talk is cheap
Mental health was once a taboo subject, especially in the workplace. But with Americans spending roughly nine hours a day at work, staying silent about the subject can be costly for your business.
Being open about mental health and providing your employees with options to deal with the challenges they’re facing, can help your business save in the long run.
Consider the following quick facts:
Mental health issues, from depression to anxiety to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), affect almost 58 million adults in the U.S.
That means that just over 26 percent of Americans ages 18 and older (the demographic that makes up the American workforce) suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder.
A recent study examining the financial impact of 25 chronic physical and mental issues identified depression as the single most expensive ailment for employers.
Obesity, arthritis, and back and neck pain rank second, third and fourth, respectively. Anxiety, an extraordinarily common occurrence in the stressful modern workplace, ranked fifth.
Subsequent studies have proven that the indirect costs of untreated mental health challenges – namely lost productivity and absenteeism – frequently exceed a company’s direct spending on health insurance and pharmacy coverage.
The simple solution: be proactive
A recent white paper released by the American Psychiatric Foundation noted that employers who instituted proactive mental health programs routinely saw considerable financial benefit. A depression screening program alone showed a return on investment of 1.7:1. Similarly, 80% of employees treated for various mental illnesses reported significantly higher rates of efficacy and job satisfaction.Regardless of the size of your organization, there are some simple steps you can take to help build a smarter and more effective mental health program for your employees. Here’s a quick overview:
Estimate the ultimate cost that depression, anxiety and other disorders pose to your business.
Evaluate your current benefits program and determine how comprehensive your mental health coverage is.
Decide what kind of coverage you can afford.
Consider developing an Employee Assistance Program, or EAP.
The bottom line? Your employees’ mental health directly impacts your bottom line. Be proactive about taking care of them now, and your business will be healthier in the long run.