Human Resources News & Insights

Are employees’ mental health issues costing your firm millions?

Wellness initiatives like walking programs or weight-loss competitions may get all the press, but employers are selling their workforce short by not tackling another wellness issue: mental health.

According to a recent article published by Forbes, almost 58 million working U.S. adults have some form of mental disorder. Those can include everything from anxiety to insomnia to bulimia.

But the most costly mental issue for employers is depression, which, according to Mental Health America, costs the U.S. $51 billion in absenteeism and lost productivity alone.

And with nearly one in four employees suffering from some form of mental issue, it’s almost a guarantee that some of your employees have had some experience with mental health problems.

4 tips

So what are companies supposed to do to tackle issues that aren’t easily noticed and are even harder to fix?

Here are four ways to handle mental health issues in the workplace, courtesy of Forbes and The Huffington Post:

  • Communicate with employees. The stigma of mental health issues means many employees aren’t exactly begging to tell everyone at their office about their problems. And, unlike physical issues, staffers can get very good at hiding mental health troubles. That’s why it’s crucial to create an environment where employees can feel open to discussing any problems they may have. Consider speaking with managers about setting up an open-door policy for staff who want to talk about what issues they’re having and to determine what, if anything, the company can do to help.
  • Determine the costs. Crunch the numbers to see just what absenteeism and low productivity are costing your firm annually. The best approach: an anonymous survey. That should help you identify what health disorders are affecting your workers most.
  • Talk with your benefits person and/or provider. Sit down with your benefits person or people to determine what your plan offers in the way of counseling or referral services. If necessary, reach out to your provider for more details.
  • Highlight EAPs, if you have them. Many companies have Employee Assistance Programs that can be beneficial for staff. The problem: Many employees aren’t aware of what’s offered. Communicate the available options to your workforce.
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