Building a mission based on your vision for workplace mental health and well-being is key to promoting engagement, bringing excitement, focus and productivity to work, and future-proofing your greatest asset — your employees.
Psychological health and well-being are not a single state, but a continuum on which every individual realizes their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and can contribute to their relationships and community. They are our capacity to feel, think and act in ways that enable us to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. They are also a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections, and personal dignity.
Mental illnesses cost employers and the economy in two distinct ways: direct health care costs and indirect costs such as loss of productivity, absenteeism and disability coverage. Taken together, these costs are significant.
Take depression, for example, a highly prevalent condition that occurs in 1 in 10 adults at some point in their lives. The economic impact of depression was more than $210 billion in 2010, with less than half attributed to the direct costs of treatment (45–47%). The other half (48–50%) of the costs are associated with the workplace in terms of lost productivity, absenteeism and disability, while the final 5% is associated with suicide, which tragically occurs all too often from untreated (or poorly treated) depression. For every dollar spent on depression direct costs in 2010, an additional $1.90 was spent on related costs (i.e. suicide- related or workplace costs). Depression also frequently occurs with and exacerbates other medical conditions resulting in another $4.70 spent on those conditions.1
“The economic costs of mental illness will be more than cancer, diabetes and respiratory ailments put together.” –Director, U.S. National Institute of Mental Health at the World Economic Forum, January 2015
Mental illnesses directly affect an employee’s ability to perform effectively at work and are associated with absenteeism and lost productivity; in fact, 80% of people with depression report some level of functional impairment. In one study, during a three-month period, clients with depression missed an average of 4.8 workdays and suffered 11.5 days of reduced productivity.
Another reason for the high cost associated with mental health conditions is that they frequently co-occur with other medical illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Individuals with depression consume two to four times the healthcare resources of other enrollees. Individuals with depression are twice as likely to develop coronary artery disease, twice as likely to have a stroke, and more than four times as likely to die within six months from a myocardial infarction.
All too often, people avoid or delay reaching out for help. Only one in three people who need help get it. This is due to stigma and shame, fear of impact on one’s livelihood, financial barriers to care and inadequate access to quality care and support.
There is good news!
Psychological treatments work and show a positive return on investment. Indeed, when employees receive effective treatment for mental illnesses, the result is lower total medical costs, increased productivity, lower absenteeism and decreased disability costs.
The bad news…1 in 5 adults will experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. Of those, more than half of those individuals will go untreated.
The bottom line is this: as an employer, you can’t afford to ignore mental health and well-being. Investing in strategies, resources and support mechanisms for these issues is key to engagement, productivity, and your bottom line.
Ready To Help Your Employees Excel and Thrive?
Avail is a Software-as-a-Service (Saas) based holistic well-being solution for organizations and their employees. Avail’s proactive, mobile-first, anytime platform uses clinical and behavioural data-driven insights to provide employees with personalized well-being profiles that are increasingly refined to reflect changes in well-being as circumstances change. Each profile aims to equip employees with insight and actionable skills to achieve optimal mental well-being, strengthened resilience and a mindset that promotes high engagement and performance.
For employees with untreated mental health problems or who want to improve their mental wellbeing without stigma or privacy concerns, Avail’s Care Navigator recommends options ranging from psychoeducational content (e.g. articles, videos) to professional care from our national provider network. Care resources can be augmented with any care options your organization provides. For administrators, Avail’s aggregate analytics and insights track your organization’s care service utilization and identifies trends in the mental health and well-being of your workforce..
Visit us at https://avail.app/organizations
1. Working Well: Leading A Mentally Healthy Business (2016). A collaborative effort of the National Alliance on Mental Illness-NYC Metro (NAMI-NYC), Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH), Partnership for Workplace Mental Health/American Psychiatric Association Foundation, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and The Kennedy Forum.
2. Mental Illness and Addiction: Facts and Statistics (2018 ). Canadian Association of Mental Health. Retrieved online from https://www.camh.ca/