The idea that there is a separation of mental health awareness and the workplace is over. Even before the pandemic, we were facing an epidemic of stress-related physical and mental health issues in the workplace. Awareness, guidance, support and de-stigmatization are all necessary components of a functioning work environment in the current state of health, business and world issues facing today’s employees. Leaders who turn a blind eye or assert that stress management and mental health resource implementation are not a valid and necessary construct to the work environment are out of touch at best and possibly negligent in their workforce’s care and wellness.
Numbers drive business, and they show that stress, anxiety, mental and physical health issues have reached their highest numbers.
Mental Health Workplace Statistics
- In 2019, 94% of American workers reported experiencing stress at their workplace. According to Wrike’s United States stress statistics from 2019, only 6% of workers don’t report feeling stressed.
- Around 23% of them described their stress levels as high, while 6% said their levels of stress were unreasonably high.
- Employees say they need help in managing stress, and 42% say their co-workers need such help.
- Only 43% of U.S. employees think their employers care about their mental health.
Workers feel high levels of stress not only for themselves but also in their awareness of their co-workers’ stress levels. More than half of U.S. employees do not think their employers care about their stress levels, managing stress or discussing stress in the workplace. An elephant is sitting in the middle of the office. Every employee can see, hear and smell it, but leaders are ignoring it. It is having a significant effect on business, community and interpersonal relationships.
Workplace Mental Health Concerns, According to Health.gov:
- Mental disorders are among the most common causes of disability. The resulting disease burden of mental illness is among the highest of all diseases.
- In any given year, an estimated 18.1% (43.6 million) of U.S. adults ages 18 years or older suffered from any mental illness, and 4.2% (9.8 million) suffered from a seriously debilitating mental illness.1
- Neuropsychiatric disorders are the leading cause of disability in the United States, accounting for 18.7% of all years of life lost to disability and premature mortality.2
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for approximately 43,000 American deaths in 2014.3,4
If mental disorders are among the most common causes of disability, then why are they often addressed the least in the workplace?
According to The American Psychological Association, depression alone cost the economy $210.5 billion annually in the United States and depression, and it’s symptoms cause an abundance of lost workdays. Being proactive and pivoting to meet your employees’ mental needs and well-being before a significant mental health crisis, employee loss or hostile work environment infiltrate and debilitate your business is key.
Employees that feel their employees care about their mental health, work-life balance, are more likely to stay at their job and take less sick leave. Employers who understand the link between employee well-being and organizational performance, promote workplaces where employees feel valued, and that feeling of value drives bottom-line results.
The key is not to erase stress.
Stress, under constructive amounts, can be a good thing for moving the needle of innovation in business. The key is to identify areas of unhealthy stressors and areas that need support within your company. Social-emotional well-being and stress management supports employees and identifies a need within the company. Focusing on stressors identified by most employees and using those as stress reduction targets and education opportunities can produce long-term workplace shifts in stress and stress management and de-stigmatizes mental health in the workplace.
Areas of workplace stress commonly identified are:
- work engagement
- employee relationships
- workload, including clarity and expectations.
These are all areas employers can survey and focus on to see where need in education lies.
The Rooted Team: Employee Wellness Program
We’re different. We teach employees how their brains work. When you know how your brain works, you can use it to your advantage when dealing with workplace stress and everyday obstacles – precisely what your team needs.
We focus on using mindful self-awareness to change habits and behaviors that do not serve and spend time on stress management, resilience building and increasing overall mental well-being. Weaving techniques that decrease stress and feelings of overwhelm into the workday allows employees to feel the effects of mindful practice immediately. The ripple effects are numerous.
Using science-backed methods to help employees combat stress and implement wellness can have a positive effect on your business and your community. Here’s more information. We’d love to help you make lasting change in your workplace.
(This article originally appeared here.)