A lot of employers and business owners do not want to think about or talk about mental health.
It’s a difficult subject to wrap your arms around, but it’s something that could have a direct effect on the work habits of employees and businesses as a whole. The workplace is one of the most important places where mental health needs to be addressed, yet it is one of the last places we hear about it.
What Stops Employees from Talking About It?
Employees all over the United States may feel discouraged to talk about their mental state with their coworkers, their bosses, and their management team. They fear that it may cause damage to their relationships, cause people to perceive them differently, hurt their reputation, or harm their careers.
It is the stigma behind mental illness that keeps them quiet, but officially, regardless of whether it’s recognized in a particular workplace, it needs to be. Not everyone knows this, but under the Americans with Disabilities Act
of 1990, discrimination based on mental health is prohibited. Social Security Disability also covers mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and more.
Research has indicated that people who experience mental health issues in the workplace tend to fabricate excuses to cover up the real reason behind their absenteeism. 95 percent of employees that call in sick due to stress or other issues, make up a different excuse as to why they will be absent. Of that 95 percent of people, 48 percent stated that they would not discuss the issue with their boss.
Mental Health Issues on the Rise
Since 2014, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of people suffering from mental health issues, specifically in the workplace. Studies have indicated that in 2014, there had been a 54-percent increase in the amount of people experiencing mental health issues.
Since then, this number has continuously grown. Currently, 85 percent of employees experience mental health conditions, and most of them are undiagnosed and untreated. A recent survey shows the impact that mental health can have on a business. Of 150 people surveyed, the findings suggest that:
- 58 percent of employees said that their work productivity is negatively impacted by stress on the job.
- 45 percent of people have considered leaving their job due to mental health and the negative impacts that it is having on them in the workplace.
- 31 percent of employees have taken time off of work due to stress.
- 25 percent of people have taken time off work due to workplace related issues and stress.
How Can Employers Break Through?
Business owners and employers have the chance to change the stigma and fear experienced in many workplaces, relating to mental health. There is a lot of motivation for them to step up and provide an increased awareness and focus regarding the issue.
Mental health issues are costing businesses more than $100 billion dollars and over 217 million lost workdays every single year. About 50 percent of employees say that they are less productive at work or take days off of work as a result of stress. By stepping up to the issue and investing in time and resources where needed, they can ultimately help to increase business productivity and employee retention.
There have been many benefits identified when employers get involved with workers experiencing mental health issues. Out of 100 people surveyed, 85 percent have found that talking to an employer or boss makes them feel better and relieves some of their stress. By talking to an employer, there are accommodations and strategies for employees that could help them deal with their mental health problems in the workplace. Another tremendous solution would be work allocation, whereby equitable workload is allocated to staff members in terms of quality and quantity.
Mental Health Tied To Success of Businesses
A recent national survey conducted by Morneau Shepell shows the link between a mentally fit workplace and business success. Employee respondent’s results indicated that:
- 90 percent of employees find that managing and addressing employee mental wellness is important for work productivity. They have found it to help tremendously.
- 87 percent of employees believe that a mentally health workplace will help to meet the business needs.
- 83 percent of people believe that workplace stress can be either positive or negative. This all depends on how well the workplace supports the employees and their issues.
Employees who have received attention from their employers, other employees, or bosses in relation to mental health issues, reported having:
- – Lower absenteeism
- – High employee interaction
- – Less personal stress
ALSO READ: 10 Most Effective ways To Manage Stress
Along with fear, many managers are unsure of how to intervene with employees who are experiencing issues. This plays a large factor as to why some workplaces are still not addressing the issue of mental health.
In a survey, only one third managers reported having training for people experiencing depression, 66 percent of people feel they could do their job more effectively if they found ways to manage the stress of their employees, and 63 percent of managers would like the opportunity to receive better training on how to deal with mental health issues.
Of this 63 percent, 43 percent of these people would like more support from Human Resources or higher management teams on how to handle these issues properly.
Perhaps investing in project management software or hiring more employees to lighten the load can help, but it should all come from a place of wanting to help your employees cope.
It is imperative that workplaces step up and start to talk about mental health in the workplace. They need to put their fears aside and get the training they need to help others, if not for their employees, for the good of their business.