Why Strong Mental Health Policies are Good for Business

By Peter Daisyme

Tumisu / Pixabay

By and large, companies have ignored employee mental health. This is not due to a lack of care or concern. And it’s not related to having to provide extra services. In reality, mental health is one of the required areas that must be covered in organizational healthcare benefits. Instead, it has to do with the stigma placed on mental illness. Employees are afraid to share problems, as they may be perceived as a sign of weakness. They fear that sharing such personal issues may compromise their job security, leading to even larger problems. Instead, having strong mental health policies in place are a way to address that and help businesses.

Challenges in Helping Employees With Mental Health

Also, companies face legal obstacles in terms of how they approach the mental health of their employees. Technically, an employer cannot ask an employee directly if he is having mental health issues. Yet there are signs that an employer should be noticing that could indicate an employee needs help. For example, behaviors like unusual absences, emotional outbursts, and changes in personal hygiene could signal they need help. Also, signs that the employee has lost interest in work could mean he is experiencing mental health problems. When those signs appear, the employer can ask the employee whether everything is OK or whether he needs to talk about anything.

Businesses have ample motivation for a greater focus on employee mental health — and not just the tragic consequences of letting mental health issues go untreated. Today, there’s an increasing understanding of the value of allowing employees to live a more balanced life. This means that an employee must be allowed to be “human” and take the time she needs to deal with a family issue, whether it be grief, illness, or just the need to take a break and enjoy family time.

Addressing mental health issues in your business starts with establishing a strong mental health policy. This gives employees and management a framework to encourage proper treatment. It also lets employees know that the organization wants to remove any stigma surrounding mental health so they feel comfortable discussing any mental health issues with their direct managers. And as we’ll see, having a clear mental health policy can be an integral part of increasing productivity and improving the bottom line.

Mental Health Issues on the Rise

The statistics show that mental health requires serious attention. For example, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has found that 18.5 percent of adults in the U.S., or 43.8 million, suffer from mental illness in any given year. Of those, 4.0 percent, or 9.8 million, experience a serious mental illness that significantly interferes with one or more major life activities, including their jobs. According to a Global Burden of Disease study, depression has become the world’s second-leading cause of disability.

NAMI also noted some of the consequences of these mental health issues. There is $193.2 billion in earnings lost annually in the U.S. as a result of serious Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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