Three Steps to Supporting Employee Mental Health

Mental Heath Awareness Month

As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to share insights into employee mental health:

  • 78% of the employees say that pandemic has negatively affected their mental health.
  • 85% of employees report that newfound work-related stress is affecting their home lives.
  • 70% of employees report that the workplace itself is a current source of stress.
  • 60% of benefit leaders say employee expectations around mental health support rose over the past year.
  • Employers today are spending over $15,000 on average annually on each employee experiencing mental health issues.
  • It is estimated that 62% of employees with mood disorders, 76% with anxiety disorders and 81% with substance use disorders are not receiving treatment.
  • More than 50% of employees with mental illness do not get help mainly because of stigma, prejudice and discrimination against those with mental illnesses, as well as lack of awareness.

These statistics are pretty terrifying and may come as a shock. It is easy to feel frustrated and put all the blame on the pandemic, but the truth is that the pandemic accelerated an already existing problem. It is now time for us to shift our focus away from COVID-19 and put our efforts towards a long-lasting employee mental health solution.

Supporting Employee Mental Health

Nick Taylor Ph.D is the CEO and co-founder of Unmind, the authoritative, trusted workplace mental health platform designed to empower employees to proactively measure, understand, and improve their well-being. In an interview with WELCOA, he talks about a possible solution; a new, dual-spectrum employee mental health model that encompasses all employees and the full range of mental well-being. His three-part model idea is explained below:

1. Remove the Stigma: Taylor explains that removing the stigma attached to mental illness is the first step toward having a healthier, more productive workforce. The most critical aspect of this is to stop talking about mental health exclusively in relation to mental ill-health. In other words, we all imagine that mental health is the absence of mental illness. Unfortunately, this way of thinking makes creates the idea that mental health only needs to be talked about when people are mentally ill. This only continues to drive the stigma attached to mental ill-health and prevent people from getting support. To remove the stigma surrounding mental health, Taylor suggests integrating mental health into your wellness program if you haven’t already. This includes providing signposts to guide employees to outside help or referrals when they need it, providing tools and resources that help them check in on their own mental health and support them to stay on track emotionally.

2. Address Depression and Anxiety: WELCOA cites Mental Health America when they say that depression is among America’s most costly illnesses, accounting for over $51 billion in absenteeism and productivity annually, and costing individuals over $26 billion in direct treatment costs each year. In addition, the CDC says people who report moderate depression get help only 57% of the time and those who report suffering from severe depression turn to professionals only 40% of the time. This trend is only expected to continue as more and more youth who will be entering the workforce soon are not receiving the help they need. Mental Health America found that as of 2022, Nationally, fewer than 1 in 3 youth with severe depression receive consistent mental health care. The COVID-19 pandemic really brought the severity of depression and anxiety to the surface, which is why they need to be addressed within your organization.

3. Remember The 5-in-5 Rule: The mental health model that has been in place since the 1950’s was a great starting point and has gotten us to where we are now. However, it is no longer accurate in this ever-changing world of ours. The old model continues to stigmatize mental health, because it puts mental health and mental illness at opposite ends of the same spectrum – if you have mental health, then you don’t have a mental illness, and vice versa. This new model recommends including workplace mental health solutions that treat the “5 in 5″ and really reframe the concept of mental well-being in the post-COVID-19 world. The 5-in-5 point rule for employee mental health means that every employee should be addressed and provided for. It is all about embracing employees and focusing on a holistic or “real world” concept of mental well-being.

It is important for employers to realize is that employees can have anxiety or depression, or nearly any other mental health condition, and be mentally well. They can be mentally well if you define mental well-being as thriving, as having positive feelings and positive functioning, in their workplace performance, their interactions with colleagues, and their home life. All of that is possible regardless of any mental health condition, with the right support and tools. Health Designs provides a variety of mental health and well-being solutions including on-demand webinars, hands on workshops, well-being coaching and more! Click here to view our offerings or contact us to learn more!

For additional information, news, blogs, articles or interviews please contact us at 904-285 2019
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