mental health workplace wellness

Mental Health Focus Can Help Company Bottom Line

We’ve reported frequently on the impact that mental illness can make on employee productivity, presenteeism, absenteeism, and overall health costs for a company.

Workplace Insight reported that “Over a quarter of workplace absences are down to psychological conditions.” The post cites “new analysis from consultancy, the Clear Company, which also claims that mental health in the workplace as the second biggest challenge facing employers in the next five years, with respondents stating that over a quarter (26 percent) of workplace absences were down to psychological conditions.”

The post quotes Kate Headley, Director at the Clear Company, who said, “HR strategists should look at ways to foster a culture of openness which actively encourages staff to share their needs on an ongoing basis so that they can be fully supported.”

We also reported on a study that reviews the question: “Depression screening, education, and treatment at the workplace: A pilot study utilizing the CDC Health Scorecard.” Results:

  • “The majority of worksites do not provide employee depression screening, education and counseling, management training on identifying warning signs of depression, or comprehensive treatment and follow-up for employees with depression.”
  • “Smaller worksites (<250 employees) were even less likely than larger companies to provide screening, education, counseling, training, and insurance coverage for depression.”

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

Kate V. Fitch of the Colorado Mental Wellness Network writes 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.”

“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.”

As Fitch notes: “Despite the fact that treatment is effective for at least 80 percent of people with the most common mental health conditions, less than a third of people who need help seek it. This is due to lack of knowledge about mental health symptoms and how to pursue treatment, negative attitudes toward treatment, and fear of discrimination, especially in the workplace.”

A well-run workplace wellness program can address this significant issue — and help address the costs that can affect a company’s bottom line.