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Imagine you’re preparing an elaborate holiday feast for other people. You stock up on special vegetables, proteins, and sweets, and buy elaborate decorations and cutlery. However, when the meal is ready, you don’t bother to talk to anyone at the table. Your rationale? Because you already have all the ingredients for the holiday, making conversation with your guests is unnecessary.
This is the same kind of thinking that makes employers believe that because they hired employees and gave them tools to perform their jobs, their mental health is somehow not their concern. Like hosting a great holiday party, the physical ingredients do matter, but ultimately it’s the feeling you give people that counts. While you can hire employees and ignore their mental health, ultimately you’ll be cheating yourself of an optimal workplace experience.
Why employee mental health matters
Mental health isn’t a perk; it’s a prerequisite to good organizational performance. Many top CEO’s believe that employee mental and physical health must be excellent in order to achieve the best productivity and results.
In a business world that is increasingly driven by innovation and creativity, employees who feel valued by their employers help drive profits and keep companies competitive. Minimizing employee concerns or making people feel that their well-being is somehow trivial ultimately backfires on managers and organizations alike.
This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to adapt to safety standards, companies have had to ask their employees to change their mode of work overnight. Instead of having the in-person companionship of fellow colleagues, many employees now work remotely, which can lead to unexpected stresses due to feelings of isolation.
Coupled with a global climate of uncertainty about when the pandemic will end, many employees are under a great deal of stress, which can negatively affect their mental health. Simply put, when you’re worried about your own health, it’s very hard to give your total focus to the project you’re supposed to be working on.
Workplace and mental health: Facts and statistics
According to the World Health Organization, for every U.S. dollar spent on treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of four U.S. dollars in terms of improved productivity and health. With approximately 1 in 5 U.S. adults likely to experience a mental illness each year, the ROI on mental health treatment is an advantage to all organizations.
When left untreated, employees with mental illness do not perform in their work nearly as well as their healthy peers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a mental illness like depression reduces a person’s cognitive performance by about 35%, and interferes with their ability to complete physical tasks about 20% of the time. Coworker communication can also be significantly slower or less productive when one or more members of a team is suffering from a mental illness.
Essentially, not treating employee mental health issues is far more costly than supporting your workforce.
How to support employee mental health
Luckily, creating a supportive environment for your employees doesn’t have to be difficult. The biggest obstacle for most organizations is changing the code of silence around discussing mental health issues. When managers and HR professionals are free to openly communicate with their workforce, employees and the organization as a whole thrive.
HR professionals can host semi-regular talks or seminars about mental wellness that all employees are invited to attend. These talks can be thematically broad or be focused on specific mental health conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or depression. Whatever their chosen topic, the seminars should be informative and accessible. The idea is to spread awareness and make it easy for employees to access mental health resources.
Depending on the specific employee condition, these mental health resources can encompass self-assessment tests, teletherapy sessions, clinical visits, and other treatment tools. In order to understand what assortment of resources to offer your workforce, it’s advisable to partner with a trusted mental health care provider.
Trusted mental health care providers should be able to offer your organization a comprehensive plan based on the size and location of your workforce. In the instance of teletherapy, for example, an excellent provider will be able to recommend therapists that share the same cultural background and speak the same language as your employee regardless of where that employee may be physically located.
An excellent provider will also be able to suggest treatment options with a high degree of certainty based on precision mental health care. Spring Health understands that in business, as in life, time is of the essence. No one wants to spend unnecessary days or weeks on a treatment that does not work. For people who are suffering, relief should be swift and as accurate as possible. For more information on what Spring Health can offer you and your organization, please request a demo.