The Importance of Mental Health Support at Work

“It is an odd paradox that a society, which can now speak openly and unabashedly about topics that were once unspeakable, still remains largely silent when it comes to mental illness.” 

– Glenn Close

We need to talk about mental health for three primary reasons:

  1. To eliminate the stigma associated with people who have mental health issues
  2. To educate people about mental health, so that they can identify their own potential mental health challenges
  3. To educate people about mental health, so that they can better understand and help others suffering from mental illness

Not only is mental illness very difficult to deal with in our personal lives – it also impacts our professional lives. In the United States alone, employee mental health needs costs companies an estimated 44 billion dollars a year in lost productivity. 20% of lost productivity costs are associated with absenteeism, while up to 80% are due to presenteeism, or working while sick.¹  Just as resources are made available for employees’ physical health, efforts should also be made to provide resources for mental health needs. Employers can’t afford not to offer mental health resources. So how can you provide the necessary support for your company?

Consider an employee assistance program (EAP) like ours.

What is an Employee Assistance Program?

 

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, an employee assistance program is defined as “a work-based intervention program designed to assist employees in resolving personal problems that may be adversely affecting the employee’s performance.” EAPs assist employees with issues like drug or alcohol abuse, child care, relationship concerns, traumatic events, or even financial difficulties.

Offering this kind of comprehensive wellness support to employees improves talent retention, boosts employee engagement, reduces absenteeism, increases productivity, and more.

To effectively implement an EAP, employers must educate employees on how to access and use this resource. Specifically, it’s critical to communicate that an employee’s use of an EAP is completely confidential.

When employees aren’t aware of this, they’re often reluctant to utilize an EAP because they’re afraid they’ll lose their jobs. It is up to employers to reassure employees that this is not the case. It should be made clear that an employee will absolutely not have any adverse action taken against them if they call the EAP because the employer is not privy to that information.

Employers Advantage is fully committed to mental and physical wellness in the workplace. In fact, two of our team members, Deanna and Denise, are certified in Mental Health First Aid. This 8-hour course through Atrium Health prepared Deanna and Denise to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

To help our clients adopt a similar dedication to mental health, we have partnered with NextGen to offer our own Employee Assistance Program. The Employers Advantage EAP is a truly holistic approach to wellbeing for your employees. Our 8-in-1 solution is backed by a 24/7 state-of-the art call center, so your employees will never be without support.  Learn more about the Employers Advantage Employee Assistance Program (EAP) here.  

In the workplace, people often shy away from asking each other questions, for fear of stepping over a line or making someone uncomfortable. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that we are all human, and it’s perfectly okay to ask people how they’re doing, particularly if there is a concern. In closing, here are a few ways you can make sure your employees and coworkers are feeling supported:²

  • Ask about topics unrelated to work (“How are you doing?” or “How was your weekend?”)
  • Celebrate others’ achievements.
  • Offer to help whenever possible.

If you have any questions about mental health in the workplace or our Employee Assistance Program, please feel free to reach out to us!

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– Deanna

Source 1: How Mental Health Can Save Businesses $225 Billion Each Year

Source 2: 7 Questions Good Co-workers Ask Themselves Regularly

2019-05-03T10:07:42-04:00