May is Mental Health Month, a good opportunity for employers to think about how they can promote workplace well-being. Untreated employee mental illness can cost employers billions of dollars annually. An estimated 217 million workdays are lost every year due to reduced productivity related to mental illness and substance use disorders.
Mental illness and substance use disorders are the fifth leading cause of short-term disability and the third leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S.1
Working toward a solution
While recovery is possible, the stigma of addiction and mental illness often prevents people from seeking help or openly sharing their experiences.
For the third year, MHN and Health Net are helping to reduce the stigma of mental illness and addiction by participating in the Stamp Out Stigma campaign.
The campaign seeks to reduce the stigma of mental illness and addiction through the three “Rs”:
- Recognize the high prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders.
- Re-educate yourself and others about mental illness and addiction.
- Reduce stigma, insensitivity and barriers to care.
As part of the campaign, we have been sharing information about Stamp Out Stigma through various communication channels, such as MHN’s website and LinkedIn page and Health Net’s Broker Pulse.
Promoting workforce well-being
In the spirit of Mental Health Month this May, employers can do their part to reduce stigma, increase access to care and promote a psychologically healthy workplace. As a first step, employers can visit the Stamp Out Stigma website to educate themselves about addiction and mental illness and how to support affected employees.
In addition, employers can create psychologically healthy workplaces that promote employee health and well-being while maximizing organizational performance. The benefits of psychologically healthy workforces range from better physical and mental health, motivation and morale for employees to improved quality, productivity, performance, customer service, and safety for organizations.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), psychologically healthy workplaces excel in five areas: employee involvement, work-life balance, employee recognition, employee growth and development, and health and safety.
- Employee involvement: Empowering employees by including them in decision-making and giving them more autonomy on the job.
- Work-life balance: Helping employees manage the demands of work and their lives beyond work.
- Employee recognition: Rewarding employees for their contributions.
- Employee growth and development: Helping employees expand their knowledge, skills and abilities.
- Health and safety: Helping employees achieve optimal physical and mental health, avoid health risks and manage stress more effectively.
Providing a psychologically healthy workplace empowers employees to feel – and do – their best.
This article is for informational and self-help purposes only. It should not be treated as a substitute for financial, medical, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice, or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified professional.
Managed Health Network, Inc. (MHN) is a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. The MHN family of companies includes Managed Health Network, MHN Services and MHN Government Services. Health Net and Managed Health Network are registered service marks of Health Net, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
1Amy Morin, “May is Mental Health Month – Here’s Why Companies Should Care,” Forbes, 20 May 2015, http://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2015/05/20/may-is-mental-health-awareness-month-heres-why-companies-should-care/#61b2014e603e.
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