Mental Health in the Workplace
A mental health in the workplace study found that 50% of full-time US employees quit their previous jobs partially because of mental health reasons.
The month of May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, and we here at Guide to HR are always looking to promote healthy living to others. While the talk of mental health in the workforce is taboo for many, the rise of awareness has shed light on why talking about your mental health in correlation to work is important. Along with our regular content, we will honor this month by sharing some facts and tips regarding mental health and mental health in the workplace. We will start this week by sharing why mental health should matter in the workplace.
Mental Health in the Workplace
Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans ages 18 and older will experience some form of mental illness in a given year? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also states that more than 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime, and 1 in 25 Americans live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. If the statistics are not alarming enough, it has been proven that mental illnesses can lead to other problems such as diabetes, heart diseases, respiratory illnesses, and bone, muscle, and joint disorders.
What is Mental Health
So what exactly is mental health and what can have an impact on it? Mental health is defined as the state or condition of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects our cognition, perception, and behavior. There are many factors that can impact our mental health including stress, traumatic life events, biological factors, and long-term health conditions or illnesses. Mental health is just as important as physical health and should be taken just as seriously.
What Does This Have to Do With Employers?
So why exactly should employers invest or be concerned with the mental health of their employees? Well, besides the obvious, being concerned about the well-being of others, employers should be concerned because as mentioned above, mental health impacts our cognition, perception, and behavior. According to a 2021 mental health in the workplace study, 76% of employees reported that they experienced at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the past year. The feeling of burnout leads with 56% of respondents, with depression at 46%, and anxiety close behind at 40%. This study also found that 50% of full-time US employees quit their previous jobs partially because of mental health reasons. Some factors that negatively impacted employees’ mental health in the workplace included feeling emotionally drained, lack of recognition, and struggles with balancing work with life.
So what can be done and what are the benefits? Employers can invest in their employees’ mental health. Take a look at some of the benefits below.
Benefits of Investing in Your Employees' Mental Health
Employers who invest in their employees’ mental health are likely to experience benefits that include, but are not limited to:
1. Reduced Employee Absence
When you are struggling with your mental health, it is hard to get out of bed sometimes. A mental health in the workplace study conducted by Mind Share Partners found that on average, employees miss 8 days of work due to their mental health.
2. Increase Productivity
Anyone struggling mentally is likely to have trouble functioning at work. Investing in your employees’ mental health will help them find better ways to reduce stress and any other symptoms they may be experiencing. This will help increase their focus and capabilities to produce better work.
3. Healthy Relationships
The more employers invest in the lives of their employees, the more their employees are likely to feel cared for. Investing in your employees’ mental health is a great opportunity to make them feel they are more than just a number or the work they do for you. This creates a healthy relationship, leading to productivity and loyalty.
4. Contributing to Society
Not only is a happy and healthy employee good for your company, but it is a great contribution to society.
5. High Retention Rates
As mentioned above, the more you invest in your employees, the more likely they are to be loyal to you. Employers who treat their employees like humans instead of robots are on the verge of creating a healthy environment. Showing your employees you care about their mental health will show them you care for them as a person first.
6. Open Communication
Employees that feel cared for are more likely to be open and communicate better. Not only does this help them communicate about work and personal issues, but this also invests in building their communication skills in general.
7. Better Results
Investing in their mental health will help them think clearly and solve problems more effectively.
8. Creativity and Innovation
Thinking clearly and solving problems more effectively can lead your employees to be more creative and innovative.
9. Stronger Talent Candidates
Taking care of your current employees will attract more talent to pull from when hiring.
10. Healthy Work Environment
A healthy work environment equals more engaged employees who can build together as a team.
Mental health is so important and should be seen as a human problem. The more we lean in and care for one another, the better. But it is going to take a lot of work. Millions of people are struggling with their mental health, and sometimes it is due to work. Next week, we will discuss ways employers can step up and help their employees. Until then, Happy Mental Health Awareness Month.