We all know that physical health and safety are essential for employees in any work setting. But equally as important, and less talked about, is the topic of mental health in the workplace. Strenuous projects, strict deadlines, big meetings, and presentations bring a great deal of stress into your employees’ daily lives. Yet, considerations about their mental wellbeing are often pushed aside for more urgent work matters. Recent studies show us that the topic of mental health is more important now than ever. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), approximately 264 million adults across the globe live with depression and approximately 40 million adults in the United States live with anxiety disorders. Another study from the organization Mental Health America (MHA) revealed that there was an increase of about 1.5 million people who reported experiencing a mental illness between 2019 and 2020. MHA also reveals that about 24% of adults with mental illness reported an unmet need for treatment in 2020. Statistics around mental illnesses are only growing higher, which signals a stronger demand for treatment. Seeing that the workplace is often a large source of stress and other factors contributing to mental illness, it is up to employers to assist in their employees’ wellbeing through mental wellness programs.
Mental wellness programs involve practices and resources that support the behavioral and mental health of employees. These programs may come in the form of mental health screenings, educational courses, health care benefits, or counseling resources. Below are just a few of the benefits that these programs can have on your employees and the overall health of your organization alike.
Increase Employee Retention
A 2019 survey from the organization Mind Share Partners revealed that 59% of respondents reported leaving a job due to mental health reasons. It is no surprise that mental health affects employees’ motivation and satisfaction levels within their work. When your employees feel happy and supported, they are more likely to remain in their current jobs.
In addition to increasing employee retention, wellness programs can also help boost your employees’ productivity. Studies have shown significant increases in employees’ work performance after receiving treatment for mental illness. Treatment options offered by mental wellness programs can help empower your employees to feel more confident in their work, leading to more efficient work tactics. Wellness programs may also provide educational content revolving around project and time management, which can help reduce stress in employees, improve organizational skills, and drive stronger performance.
Enable Career Development
With stronger performance comes more opportunities for career development. Wellness programs and resources can help your employees deliver their best work and empower them to advance in their careers. Additionally, when employees feel encouraged about their job security and career advancement, they are likely to continue delivering strong and consistent work.
Mental wellness programs deliver a variety of positive benefits to employee performance, but also serve as a proactive measure to prevent negative incidents from occurring in the workplace. Mental health issues have the potential to fuel behavioral crises, which can have a range of negative effects in the workplace. In their most severe cases, behavioral crises can lead to workplace violence, which can result in injury or even death. While these outcomes represent only the most extreme cases, they are still very possible and can be observed in a number of recent real-world examples. By implementing employee wellness programs, screening employees for mental illnesses, and providing access to treatment where necessary, employers can significantly reduce the risk of negative incidents. In this way, wellness programs are a necessary factor in keeping employees safe.
Build Strong Corporate Reputation
The health of your employees directly correlates to the health of your organization. Happy employees reflect a positive image of your corporate brand and values. These values will spread quickly and result in a positive reputation for your organization. Additionally, your employees’ increased productivity results in stronger outputs for your whole organization.
In addition to boosting your employees’ happiness and fueling your organization’s success, mental wellness programs can also save you money. A study from the World Health Organization (WHO) found that depression and anxiety contributes to a loss of approximately $1 trillion in companies across the globe each year. These costs come in the form of decreased productivity, decreased outputs, and absent work days. The WHO also estimates that every $1 spent on employee mental health solutions will equate to $4 earned in increased productivity.
There is no better time to invest in your employees’ mental health and wellbeing. With the prospects of increased performance, improved safety, cost savings, and a stronger reputation, mental wellness programs serve as a valuable and rewarding solution.