mental health workplace wellness

To Help Reduce Costs, Business Must Engage Employees on Mental Health

Yesterday we reported on the high business costs tied to “poor mental health.” We noted that Employee Benefits News reports that “because employees are not seeking treatment for these conditions, employers are losing an estimated $225.8 billion each year due to stress, anxiety, depression and substance abuse contributing to high turnover, burnout, exhaustion and decreased motivation.”

So to address these costs, how employers might engage employees and encourage them to seek assistance?

Dr. Colleen Fairbanks has said in the Future of Business and Tech: “We know to truly impact an individual’s well-being, we need to properly attend to all aspects of their health. Enhancing a person’s emotional and physical health reduces health care costs and improves employee productivity. It not only makes good business sense, but good human sense, to incorporate emotional health into your workplace.”

Dr. Fairbanks continued: “Providing a program that focuses on both physical and emotional health reduces the stigma and puts them both on an even playing field. By letting individuals know you understand the importance of emotional health, you increase awareness and encourage employees to get the help they need.”

EBN caught up with Dr. Fairbanks who addresses “concerns regarding anxiety and depression spreading through workplaces, saying mental wellness within the workplace can be divided up into three categories: enhancing mental wellness programs by what is offered, improving the culture of the workplace and improving the environment of the workplace.”

Said Fairbanks: “Over the past year or two, there has been an increase in mental wellness offering in the workplace. Many people may not take advantage of these programs because of the way they are marketed.”

Which means workplace wellness programs — and employers — increasingly have their work cut out for them in terms of not just raising awareness, but also engaging employees.

EBN continued: “Fairbanks adds that because wellness advisers are marketing programs to reduce anxiety or depression, employees are not enrolling because they don’t think they suffer from those conditions.”

Said Fairbanks: “If you provide offerings for the flip side of depression such as, ‘how to thrive in your everyday life,’ the end result is still getting at the same thing, but people are more likely to attend those programs or be more interested and open to consideration.”

To help address these concerns, Interactive Health has outlined “Four Workplace Pillars of Emotional Health.” Tomorrow, we’ll describe those.