No doubt, sound mental health is an asset for every area of life. This carries a greater importance at the workplace. It is because a healthy mind is a key to enhancing productivity and motivation. Over the years, the perception of mental health issues in the organizations has changed. It is a welcome sign that many of them are now accepting mental disorders as an illness rather than a stigma.
Mental Health Problems inthe US
Mental health problems pose a great threat to Americans. According to a 2012 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about one in five American adults has at least one mental illness every year. Nonetheless, these findings are debatable in the medical community. Many psychiatric statisticians believe the prevalence of mental illnesses in the US is more than this.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its 2011 report estimated that around 25% of Americans had mental health problems at the time of the study. All things considered, it is clear that Americans are struggling with the effects of mental disorders.
Depression, Anxiety And Bipolar Disorder Are The Top Three Mental Health Issues In The U.S.
According to the CDC, the most mental illnesses across the U.S. are:
- Also called uni polar depression, which means the patient has only depressive symptoms, affected 6.7% of U.S. adults in the last twelve months. Notably, women are at a greater risk, with 11.7% women having a mental illness compared to 5.6 % men.
- More than 15% of the Americans have at least one type of anxiety disorder. While during the last twelve, more than 10% had anxiety. The common types of anxiety disorder are panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, and separation anxiety disorder.
- Bipolar disorder. According to The National Comorbidity Study, the lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder is 4%. Meaning, out of hundred Americans, four have bipolar disorder at some point during their lifetime.
Work and Mental Health: Exploring The “On” And “Off” Relationship
The relationship between work and mental health is often ambiguous. As a matter of fact, workplace distress could lead to depressive symptoms. By the same token, depression could significantly cut down the productivity at work.
One trend that has been grabbing attention is disclosure of the mental illness at the workplace. While positive perception by colleagues can go a long way in the recovery process, a negative attitude can add further woes.
Also, the stigmatization of mental health problems at the workplace may keep the patient from disclosing problems or denying treatment. At the worst, negatives attitudes about mental health issues can cause the loss of employment. This, in turn, causes more distress and financial problems to the patients. The negative experience of a mental illness may continue long after the recovery.
Many organizations lack proper monitoring systems to detect a mental health issue among their employees. Thus, treatment may be delayed further.
What Employers Can Do To Address Mental Health Issues
First, the employers should make provisions for identifying and addressing the mental health problems among their employees. In essence, they should create a workplace where every member knows the value of mental health. This may be achieved through a regular mental health awareness program. There, the employees with a problem can disclose how they feel living and working with the illness. Likewise, the healthy peers can extend their support by accepting the problem and comforting those having the problems. The workplace should support the disclosure and work to reduce its stigmatization.
The employers should encourage their employees to indulge in healthy activities. In fact, they can avail facilities like gym, fitness centers, and regular meditation sessions.
What Employees Can Do To Resolve Mental Health Issues
The first thing that employees can do is to disclose their mental health problems in front of the managers. Such practice may help the human resource manager to know if any unfavorable workplace environment or policy is boosting the prevalence. Besides, this will allow the managers to transfer the workload to other healthy employees.
Happy Employees Make Happy Managers: Why Is Mental Health A Workplace Asset?
According to a 2009/2010 report, an effective health program at the workplace resulted in increased revenues, lowered medical expenses and reduced loss of workdays.
A 2016 Forbes article suggests the return on investment for every dollar spent in treating anxiety and depression is four folds. Thus, a company with great health policies for their employees is sure to make some great profits.
- Mental health and workplace share a very close link as the employees spend most of their productive time at the office.
- An unhealthy workforce is a major reason for an organization’s loss or poor performance. Likewise, the inability of the organization to provide a supportive environment to their (healthy and ill) employees further worsens the condition.
- Mental health is also a key to an employee’s professional growth as it boosts their productivity and performance at the office.
- Companies that spend for the programs to enhance their employee’s mental health tend to have greater revenues.
- Organizational stigmatization and employee’s negative experience with a mental illness are the main reasons why both the parties suffer. To avoid such experience, the employers should make sure they respect the value of their employee’s health. Also, anyone who has gone through the stigma of mental illness at the workplace should not anticipate the same when they switch to another organization.
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