The world is talking about mental health conditions more than ever before. This is in large part thanks to social media and other platforms for giving mental health advocates the opportunity to raise their voices louder than ever.
While the world is still learning, the increasing awareness, screening, and diagnosis of mental illness have encouraged more and more people to speak up about their experiences and mental health journeys.
Mental illness affects not only people’s personal lives but also their professional lives. That’s why it has become a priority for businesses that want to boost their bottom lines.
Mental health matters in the workplace
State of Mental Health In America 2021reportsuggests that anxiety has reached the highest level since the pandemic began, and the depression rate has jumped by 3x.
Depression has become one ofAmerica’s most costly illnessesas it costs over $51 billion in absenteeism and productivity loss. Moreover, it costs over $26 billion in direct treatment each year.
Businesses have an opportunity to help individuals in the workplace achieve success and provide a safe environment where employees can be open and honest with their employers about their mental health.
Know the signs of mental health conditions
According to a 2019studyabout mental health in the workplace, 60% of participants reported experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition in the previous year.
Some common symptoms of mental illnesses include:
Lack of interest in activities
Loss of interest in interaction with others
Putting in extra-long shifts at work
To help foster a safe environment for employees with mental illness, it is important for everyone to be aware of the symptoms and for leadership to create policies that will encourage employees to feel empowered to prioritize their mental health.
Why businesses should prioritize employee’s mental health
Work success is measured in many ways, the major ones being hitting productivity goals, achieving financial gains, completing tasks on time, and talking about ideas and innovation. Employees who are mentally healthy can achieve these goals every day, but employees with mental illness may have challenges achieving their work goals consistently.
Businesses that put their best efforts forward to prioritize employees' mental health are counting on the following benefits:
A better workplace encourages more people to work toreduce sick absenteeism
Organizations that prioritize mental health keep their employees motivated and encourage them tobring out their bestevery day
Empathy and friendliness createmutually healthy and beneficial relationshipsbetween employees and the employer
Create a healthy workplace for everyone
Businesses are now prioritizing a healthy workplace — both emotionally and mentally. In recent years, mental health has shifted from a nice-to-have to a must-have business imperative.
It's extremely important for businesses to revisit their workplace policies to ensure they support their employees. Here are some powerful ideas to keep in mind while reframing the policies:
Promoting equality and empathy in every way
Limit the working hours
Ensure equal distribution of workload to avoid overburdening and employee burnout
Pay your employees fairly
Arrange regular sessions for employee counseling
Help employees understand and recognize their mental health
Allow employees enough breaks and leaves to restore themselves
Plan activities to increase engagement and boost confidence
Last — but not least — be kind, encouraging, and empathic
Practicing these can reap long-term benefits for both businesses and employees. A healthy work environment pushes employees to explore the best of their potential, and it ultimately boosts your business and its bottom line.