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Why You Need to Have an Employer Willing to Look After Your Mental Health

Mental health issues affect many people, whether directly or indirectly. More than 40 million adults in the United States have anxiety disorders. The leading cause of disability in the United States for adults aged 15-44 is depression. Not surprisingly, the rates of mental health issues have risen sharply over the last two years, triggered by a pandemic and ongoing racial tension.

Mental health plays an important part in everyday life, especially at work. Depression and anxiety can wreak havoc on sleep, making it hard to get a good night’s rest. Chronic sleep deprivation can impact job performance. Social anxiety can make it hard to interact with customers and co-workers. Depression can make it difficult to accept feedback from supervisors. ADHD can impact concentration and attentiveness. In the end, these are all issues that could cause an employee to miss out on a promotion and even lead to dismissal.

Because of the impact of mental health on job performance, it’s critical for employers to respond to employees’ mental health needs. Companies must include corporate policies and plans to support employees with mental health conditions.

A Conversation Employers Need to Have

For years, the stigma surrounding mental illness prohibited employers and employees from discussing mental health. It was a taboo topic in the workplace. People with mental health issues stayed in the shadows afraid to speak up.

Fortunately, mental health in the workplace is a conversation that people are finally having.  What we are learning is important.

Employees Want a Workplace That Supports Mental Wellness

What is becoming clear is that employees want to work for companies that support their mental health. Employees are increasingly factoring in mental health and employment when making career decisions. That means that employers that offer mental health days off work and other wellness perks are now in a position to attract the best talent. Investing in mental health pays. According to a recent Deloitte study, businesses that invest in mental health programs see a median annual return on investment rise by $1.62 for every dollar spent.

The Benefits of Prioritizing Mental Health in the Workplace

More than half of employees report experiencing mental health troubles within the past year. This is troubling because researchers have found mental illnesses like depression, stress, and anxiety to be as debilitating as medical diseases like arthritis. Neglecting mental well-being in the workplace doesn’t just drastically reduce the quality of life for employees. It also reduces the quality of an enterprise. Employee burnout is linked with absenteeism, high turnover, and low output.

According to the CDC, depression causes approximately 200 million lost workdays each year. It adds up to between $17 billion and $44 billion lost by American businesses annually. The effects of neglected wellbeing among a workforce can also increase healthcare costs associated with mind-body deterioration.

Making the Necessary Changes to Prioritize Mental Health

Did you know that 92% of employees said they would be more likely to stay with their jobs if their bosses showed more empathy? Employees with empathetic bosses don’t just say longer. They work harder. Leaders who manage their employees with empathy see 21% higher productivity.

When mental health is valued in a work environment, employees feel more competent and valued. They can take pride in their work without feelings of resentment. They also simply perform better due to the productivity boost that comes from enjoying a better work-life balance. Companies that value mental health also attract and retain high-quality talent. The truth is that employees talk. When a company invests time and resources into supporting the needs of its employees, it earns a stellar reputation that no amount of marketing dollars could fabricate.

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