As we wind down, Mental Health Awareness Month, part of a movement to raise awareness of mental health issues and reduce the associated stigma. With the spate of school and other mass shootings, the topic of mental health has been elevated to the national conversation and perhaps further stigmatized. These are truly horrifying events and are a focus of public attention. At the same time, they deflect our attention from the very common mental health issues that affect one in five Americans as they go about their daily lives. Included among these are undue stress, anxiety, depression, substance use, ADD/ADHD, eating disorders, PTSD and overwhelming grief.
Employers are in a Unique Position
Over half of the individuals suffering a mental health issue are not seeking treatment. Many of these do not understand their issues or realize help is available. Others are concerned about the stigma, feel they can’t financially afford help or are afraid to take time off work. As employers, you are in a unique position to promote mental health to your employees and you would find it advantageous to do so.
Untreated Mental Health Issues Affect the Workplace
Mental health issues can occur in conjunction with a physical illness or can contribute to one. The results may be greater utilization of health insurance, difficult interpersonal relationships and behaviors, poor productivity, absenteeism, presenteeism, turnover and other headaches inherent in running a business. So, what do you do?
4 Steps to Approaching Mental Health
1. Change the dialog. Don’t refer to individuals as “crazy,” “insane,” or “nuts.” Challenge misconceptions and stereotypes. Normalize conversations about mental health and encourage others to do the same.
2. Become educated about common mental health conditions and available resources in your community.
3. Train supervisors and members of management who are on the front lines to recognize possible mental health concerns and to make appropriate referrals.
4. Integrate mental health information, programs and resources into your total wellness package. Promote a holistic approach that includes mental and emotional well-being. Replace stigma with acceptance and support.
The EAP Can Help
Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help with these four steps and much more. If you do not have an EAP, consider investing in one. Blogs on the value of an EAP and what to look for in an employee assistance program may be found on our website at www.newavenuesonline.com/news-you-can-use-1
Feel free to consult with us. We may be reached at: 1-800-731-6501 or at www.NewAvenuesOnline.com