Mental Health In The Workplace - Breaking The Stigma


Mental health in the workplace is one of the leading topics currently being discussed in the Human Resources field. Mental health is one of the most significant issues facing organizations today.  Statistics and research reveal that:

  • Depression is the #1 reason for employee absenteeism according to the World Health Organization

  • Major depression is now the illness causing the most disability worldwide

  • Employers lose an average of 27.3 days of productivity in the workplace per employee, between sick days and “presentism” due to lack of wellbeing

  • Over 26% of employed adults have substance abuse or addiction in their family (NCADD)

  • 1 – of those employed say they have experienced symptoms of mental health disorder in the previous 30 days (Harvard Medical School)

As an HR Professional who has also studied for a Masters in Clinical Psychology, I have a particularly increased interest in this area.  Through my work with clients, I have known many CEO’s, Executives, Physicians, managers, and employees that battle significant symptoms of mental illness, caused either by genetics, stress or life circumstances. 

Just last week I had the owner of a client reach out to me and let me know that he was experiencing post-traumatic stress.  He felt like he couldn’t continue to work.  We spoke about self-care strategies, resources, and a game plan for him to get the support and help he needed.  

There have been many other countless times in which managers or employees have reached out to me because of my psychology background, asking for resources and help in how to deal with their mental health, whether it be a diagnosis, a difficult marriage, challenges with their kids, crises or traumas.  Each time an employee confides in me, I am honored and humbled to be of any assistance for connecting them with resources including counseling, medication evaluations, mediations, flexible work schedules, etc., which have made a difference in them feeling cared for and enabled them to continue to work while addressing their issues.  Knowing that they have a resource in their employer made a huge difference to these employees. 

Unfortunately, not all employees feel like they have a resource of the support of their employer to address mental health.  We are still in a fight to shatter the mental health stigma. We are learning that there are serious implications for employers that do not have a training and systems in place, that it can be detrimental to the company. 

HR Professionals are starting to be able to make the case to employers about the need to accommodate and create programs and policies that will help their employees.  Employers put themselves at risk of liability of legal implications and the bottom line by failing to address the issue.  

Essential HR, along with our partners, is working with clients to assist them in creating employee well-being programs that are transforming their company’s cultures, increasing employee retention, and enhancing employee engagement.  Reach out to us for further information in creating a customized plan for your organization.