action workplace wellness

Workplace Wellness Action Matters for Mental Health

For any business that seeks to improve employee health, improve productivity, reduce health costs, improve company culture, and more, action matters. And a well-run workplace wellness program can offer a highly-effective and cost-efficient approach.

On the issue of mental health, a new report published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine addresses many of these. It is titled “Mental Health in the Workplace: A Call to Action Proceedings from the Mental Health in the Workplace: Public Health Summit.”

At the close of the summit, leaders addressed — and outlined — several recommendations for action. Not all of these will be relevant to every business, but the overall lessons and insights are useful. They include industrywide efforts, such as:

Develop a Mental Health in the Workplace “How To” Guide:

  • “Provide employers with advice and guidance along with a standard set of metrics that can be used to design, implement, and evaluate mental health in the workplace programs focused on building a culture of health and well-being and work organization and design, as well as focusing on employee-specific problems such as depression, addiction, and violence.”
  • “A Mental Health in the Workplace ‘How To’ Guide would inform effective program designs and offer assessment tools to determine whether existing programs are effective and achieving impact. Further, having a clearly defined set of metrics is necessary, especially when working alongside mental health providers, wellness vendors, insurance companies, and community partners.”

Develop a Mental Health in The Workplace Scorecard

  • “A ‘scorecard’ is needed by which employers can gauge the extent to which they have implemented best and promising practices, and their progress in achieving a culture of health and well-being at the workplace, particularly in mental health.”
  • “A Mental Health in the Workplace Scorecard would enable employers to conduct an objective self-assessment of their worksite environment and identify areas requiring remediation or attention for future intervention.”

Develop a Mental Health in the Workplace Recognition Program

  • “Businesses that have exemplary mental health in the workplace programs often appreciate recognition for their accomplishments as a method for enhancing their reputation scores, demonstrating corporate social responsibility, attracting and retaining top talent, and positively influencing consumer purchasing behaviors.”
  • “Recognition for having a healthy workplace culture needs to be based on providing evidence (hard data) showing that an organization has positively influenced improvements in metrics of mental health and well-being, which, in turn, have led to measurable business outcomes.”
  • “We noted that Interactive Health runs such a program, as it annually names “America’s Healthiest Companies.”

As the study notes: “Mental and behavioral health are important public health issues, affecting between a third and one half of all Americans sometime in their life. Since most of life is spent in working years, the workplace is an ideal setting for public health-informed initiatives that promote mental and behavioral health and prevent illness. For businesses, improvement of employee mental health can save substantial resources by decreasing presenteeism, increasing productivity, and encouraging retention while decreasing health care costs.”