Helping create a culture supporting mental health

biz meeting iStock_000022976091XSmallWe all know that many workers choose to take a “mental health day” from time to time – often for reasons that have very little to do with the state of their mental health. Conversely, some who genuinely need time off to deal with mental health concerns have to hide the reason for fear of jeopardizing their careers.

We’re beginning to see more organizations coming out in support of employees with mental health concerns and helping to “stamp out the stigma” around mental health. A 2017 survey by Willis Towers Watson showed that 88 percent of U.S. employers want to make behavioral health a top priority over the next three years – and with good reason.1 While all of us feel occasional stress, one in five American adults struggles with a mental disorder, according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness. 2

It makes sense for companies to put as much effort into taking care of their employees’ mental health as they do in offering health screenings, walking programs, or healthy cafeteria meals to promote good physical health. Like other chronic illnesses, mental disorders can impact a company through absenteeism, reduced productivity, and higher healthcare costs. A report by the National Business Group on Health estimated that mental illness and substance abuse disorders cost U.S. employers $17 billion each year, plus 217 million days of lost work productivity. 3

Reducing stigma is only part of the answer, however. For people to get the help they need, we must be educated about how to help one another. We all know how to call for emergency help for a physical ailment; the National Council on Behavioral Health now offers a Mental Health First Aid at Work program to teach you how to recognize and respond to mental health challenges in the workplace. It provides an action plan to assess risk, provide reassurance and information and encourage appropriate professional help.

MHN Can Help

With MHN’s Employee Assistance Program, MHN can help employers take the extra steps to create a culture that supports mental health and send a powerful message to employees. Our management consultants can provide professional guidance and support for dealing with behavioral health issues. Our consultants have backgrounds in professional counseling, human resources and business, allowing them to offer the insight, assessment, feedback, and action plans that are right for your managers and employees. MHN’s services include management consultation, job performance referrals, onsite critical incident response services and Department of Transportation referrals. To learn more, please call 1-800-327-7526 or email



1 2017 Behavioral Health Survey, Willis Towers Watson, March 15, 2017.

2 National Alliance for Mental Illness,

3An Employer’s Guide to Behavioral Health Services: A Roadmap and Recommendations for Evaluating, Designing, and Implementing Behavioral Health Services. Washington, DC: National Business Group on Health; 2005.


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, LLC (MHN) is a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. The MHN family of companies includes Managed Health Network, MHN Services, and MHN Government Services. Managed Health Network is a registered service mark of Managed Health Network, LLC. All rights reserved.




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Gabriel Padilla