Across industries, employers spend a great deal of time and resources making sure their workplaces don’t create risks to employee physical safety. These efforts usually include trainings, specialized equipment, and environmental risk management, just to name a few. Part of keeping workers safe also includes individual worker risk management — think hard hats and desk-specific ergonomic assessments.
There is an analogy for employers to pay attention to when we’re talking about employee mental health and psychologically healthy workplaces. If 84% of the U.S. workforce said at least one factor from their job caused a physical ailment, there is little doubt that employers would be searching for a solution. In a 2021 survey by Mind Share Partners, 84% of respondents said their mental health suffered because of at least one aspect of their job.<sup>1</sup> Moreover, 76% reported that they had at least one symptom of a mental health condition, putting these employees at greater risk of exacerbating their symptoms if they work in a psychologically unhealthy workplace.<sup>2</sup>
The bottom line is, behavioral health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, and even substance abuse or addiction are impacting your workforce. And there’s a strong possibility that your workplace is either exacerbating these conditions — or worse, causing it.
That’s not good for your employees or your business. The American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health reports that the cost of depression alone to the U.S. economy is more than $210 billion annually in absenteeism and lost productivity.<sup>3</sup>
Most employers today recognize the importance of behavioral healthcare coverage. Employers who offer such coverage may feel like they’ve “checked the box” on mental health care for their workforce. But when 84% of workers say their mental health is suffering due to their job, it appears that employers might also need to make sure they’re not overlooking a major component affecting employees’ mental health: the workplace itself.