Assuming mental health won't be an issue in your workplace — or that you're doing enough to support your employees who are struggling with their mental health — is easy. But the numbers don't lie, so let's talk about mental health in America before it's too late.
First and foremost, the Center For Workplace Mental Health reports that excessive workplace stress and mental health struggles cause a staggering 120,000 deaths and results in nearly $190 billion in health care costs each year. The CDC adds that as nearly 63% of Americans are part of the US labor force, it is up to the workplace "to improve well-being among adults" and address mental health issues to "reduce health care costs for their businesses and employees."
This means it's more important than ever that you're up-to-date on the latest statistics. Here's everything you need to know about mental health in the workplace and what statistics are saying about it.
LET'S TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH
Normalizing mental health in the workplace is among the best first steps to breaking the stigma and ensuring the well-being of your employees. This includes:
- Having regular discussions about the importance of mental health.
- Provide the right support and resources for your workers, specifically (i.e., EAP programs).
- Be vocal about the programs and resources available for employees who need mental health support.
- Ensure both employers and leaders communicate mental health struggles to set an example for workers (i.e., by voicing your stress with a project or any other mental health challenges, you show — instead of just telling — employees that this is a safe place to come forward and get the help they need).
- Regularly check in on employees to ensure they're not over-extending themselves by working too many hours, lacking work/life balance, struggling with anxiety/depression, etc.
This way, your employees know they're supported and their mental health matters. Too often, employees feel they must sacrifice their own well-being for the sake of the company — and that is no way to live. In fact, it will only cause more harm than good as employees will turn to new job opportunities as a result or even turn to addictive solutions to deal with the added pressure.
MENTAL HEALTH BY THE NUMBERS
The very first step to bringing more awareness to a problem and resolving it is knowledge! The more informed you and your leaders are on providing a positive environment for employees that supports and normalizes mental health, the better prepared you will be at preventing issues and connecting workers with the right resources who meet their needs.
The 2021 State of Mental Health in America report produced the following statistics to help more people get informed about the impact mental health has on the majority of the U.S. population. Here's why they matter.
19% — Adults Experiencing a Mental Illness in the U.S.
19% may not seem like much at first, but if you consider that there are more than 328 million people in the U.S., you may see that number in a different light. This means that at least about 36 million adults have come forward about experiencing a mental illness, making it more likely than not that it'll hit closer to home in your workplace.
10.7 million — Estimated number of adults with serious suicidal thoughts
On top of that, the stress and challenges of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have led to an increase of 460,000 serious suicidal thoughts among adults, reaching as much as 10.7 million. This means that not only was mental health a problem before 2020, but it is a bigger problem today — emphasizing the need for more support.
13.84% — Percentage of youth (12-17) who have experienced at least one major depressive episode since 2020
Although many assume that stress, anxiety, and depression are mental health issues specific to adults, research shows that those same struggles are quickly seeping into our youth from ages 12 to 17. This means that mental health support and normalization are important not only for our workers today but also for our future workers.
57% — Adults with mental illness who receive no treatment
While there is certainly a good portion of companies coming forward to support mental health in the workplace, there is still a significant portion of adults who don't receive the treatment they need to recover from their mental health struggles. This could either mean that support isn't as inclusive or extensive as it needs to be, or there isn't a clear communication of how to take advantage of the programs and help available.
23.6% — Adults with a mental illness reported that they were not able to receive the treatment they needed
While many reasons for adults not receiving the treatments they need can be because they aren't aware of the programs and resources available at their company, that's not always the case. According to this statistic, at least 23.6% don't have access to the treatment they need despite how much of a difference it would make on the business and employee.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
When it comes down to it, recent studies have shown that 96% of CEOs believe their companies are doing enough for employee mental health, yet only 69% of employees agree. This means that although you may be providing some support and help to your workers, there's a good chance that it's not enough to ensure their well-being and mental health is on track.
Take, for instance, the last two MHA statistics — that 57% of adults don't receive treatments, and 23.6% say they don't have access to treatment. It's your job as an employer to recognize these trends and provide the support that employees may not seek by themselves or have trouble finding without the proper resources.
This is where prioritizing EAP programs can make all the difference for you and the well-being of your employees. Normalizing mental health discussions are, of course, important to improving mental health — but it is just as important to ensure your employees have access to the right specialists, treatments, advice, support, and more when they need it.
So, what can you do? You can start by knowing how to identify if an employee is suffering from substance abuse, normalizing mental health in the workplace, providing the best EAP program for your company and employees, and updating your plans to meet ever-evolving employee needs.
PRIORITIZE YOUR EMPLOYEES AND THEIR MENTAL HEALTH
Despite the rise in awareness of mental health, its impact on the workforce, and the importance of addressing it — there are still many challenges to overcome in the coming years to ensure all employees receive the support and resources they need.
While there's no way for you to control what other companies are doing to make a difference, it is essential that you prioritize your employees and their mental health — this will not only give you a competitive advantage but act as a guarantee to current and future employees that they are a valuable asset to your business and will be taken care of fully as a member of your team.
Work with a team of specialists at Employee Recovery to evaluate and develop an EAP program that best fits the needs of you and all your employees.
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