As employers strive to create inclusive workplaces, supporting mental health should be a central focus. When an employee’s emotional, psychological, and/or social well-being is impacted, the employer is almost always impacted. In fact, the Center for Prevention and Health Services estimates that mental health and substance abuse issues indirectly cost employers between $79 and $105 billion a year. This is generally due to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and increased healthcare costs associated with mental health needs.
How Can Employers Support Mental Health?
With one in five adults living with a mental illness, it is quite likely that your workplace includes individuals managing mental health needs. While mental health is uniquely personal and has no specific technique or treatment formula, there are ways that employers can protect and promote employee mental health:
When considering benefits, employers should also aim to make care accessible for people with disabilities and others who may not otherwise be able to easily access a mental health practitioner. Some employers have free, on-site health clinics that include mental health services to address this need.
Finally, in addition to formal benefits packages, employers can offer informal incentives such as flexible work schedules that may include working from home or modified schedules that are outside of traditional work times. Providing these opportunities can be helpful in allowing employees to work during peak hours of productivity and ensure improved work/life balance. For employees with disabilities, flexible work schedules can reduce stressful commutes and can help with managing appointments and other disability-related needs.
When employees are happy and healthy, they are more likely to be productive and remain with their employers longer. Therefore, an employer’s overall investment in employee mental health is a significantly wise business practice.
For more ideas on how to support positive mental health in the workplace, check out our recent post, 7 Tips for Employers to Support Self-Care for Employees with Disabilities. If you’re an employee that wants to learn more about mental health in the workplace, contact the Getting Hired team.Contributions to this blog were made by Andraéa LaVant of Solutions Marketing Group.