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Mental Health Matters: Does your business have a workplace health promotion program?

By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD

With mental health awareness month just around the corner, if you have not already begun to think about action steps to support your employees, it is time to start that conversation.  The last twelve months were arguably the most stressful months that most of us will see in our lifetime.  As the current workforce begins to return to their offices, it is important to recognize and normalize discussions surrounding mental health in order to support employee health, safety, well-being and productivity.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, studies show that 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness each year; with 1 in 20 experiencing symptoms of serious mental illness.  Mental illnesses, such as depression, are known to affect an individual’s ability to perform both physically and cognitively.  That failure to perform inevitably affects businesses that then have to deal with the cost of poor employee health.  In fact, depression and anxiety disorders among workers cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year.

Employers can prevent these losses, however, by addressing mental health issues in the workplace in a way that reduces the stigma surrounding these conversations and provides support.  Strategies should include:

  • Connecting employees to resources that provide information about where they can get help and find support.
  • Fostering a workplace culture that does not stigmatize mental health and normalizes discussions about topics such as stress, burnout and depression.
  • Prioritizing programs to support mental health such as resiliency training, stress management, and empathy training.

You can find a thorough discussion of workplace health promotion along with tools and resources on the CDC’s website.

If you would like assistance addressing an existing workplace health promotion program or establishing a new one, please Contact Us.

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