mental health workplace wellness

Manager Awareness Key to Addressing Mental Health in Workplace

The important role that a well-run workplace wellness program can play in helping address and manage mental health in the workplace is well known. Moreover, as we reported previously, a focus on mental health can help a company’s bottom line.

The Colorado Mental Wellness Network reported that companies should “invest in workplace mental health equality to protect your bottom line.”

Kate V. Fitch of the Colorado Mental Wellness Network wrote in the Denver Business Journal: “Leaving the mental health needs of a workplace unaddressed drives up costs. Failure to promote mental wellness, identify and intervene with employees who are struggling, and encourage early treatment worsens long-term health outcomes and worker morale while increasing absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover.”

Fitch added: “Disability, absence, and lost productivity cost employers four times as much as direct health care spending, making workplace wellness programs that encourage healthcare engagement a smart cost-saving strategy.”

But among the challenges in managing mental health in the workplace is a place where a well-run workplace wellness program can help: Awareness among managers.

Workplace Insights reports “one in three line managers admit they would struggle to detect mental health issues.”

There is some good news, according to the report: “This is according to new data from Bupa which argues that while mental health and wellbeing support in the workplace has significantly improved in recent years, and employer support is gaining attention with two in five managers being trained; line managers would still benefit from support and advice to identify mental health issues within their teams.”

The issue is key, Workplace Insight states, as “recognition of the role employer support plays in helping colleagues with mental health conditions is clear as two in five (41 percent) line managers have already received related training from their employer.  And conversations around mental health at work are being reframed as more than a third (35 percent) of employees feel more comfortable talking to their manager about their mental health than before.