Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace

by Rick Kronberg

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and one place organizers will look to promote it is in the workplace.

The World Health Organization reports mental disorders as 1 of the 3 leading causes of disability, which impacts both employees’ and their caregivers’ health and well-being. Undiagnosed or untreated conditions can increase absenteeism and diminish overall work performance and relationships.

And the numbers are staggering.

As for a business’ bottom line, a 2013 Gallup poll revealed depression alone costs U.S. workplaces an estimated $23 billion in lost productivity each year. By 2030, the World Economic Forum projects mental health disorders will drive $6 trillion in global costs, up from $2.5 trillion in 2010.

Thomas Insel, the former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, reported that “Our best estimate of the number of adults with any diagnosable mental disorder within the past year is nearly 1 in 5 or roughly 43 million Americans.”

There is certainly a need for employers to address mental health in the workplace and reduce the stigma of mental illness that often keeps employees silent.

Perspectives Ltd provides Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services to organizations across the country. One of the most valued and utilized EAP service is the access and linkage to mental health counselors. Depending on the organization, anywhere from 3%-15% of a company’s employees or their family members will contact our EAP Counselors to receive an assessment of their mental health concerns and either a referral to a behavioral health treatment provider or short-term problem resolution with a masters level EAP Counselor.

Typically, about 40% of the concerns are a stress-related such as symptoms of depression or anxiety. Employees are able to use this EAP service at no cost, as the program is paid by their employer.

This makes EAPs one of the best methods for addressing the tremendous challenge of access to services for mental health disorders and services to maintain a healthy workforce.

By Rick D. Kronberg, LCSW, CEAP, Director of Clinical Services, Perspectives Ltd.

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  • Pat Fagan-Jackson

    Great article, Rick.

  • Gina Higgin

    Nicely done Rick!