New York, NY – The problem we often have approaching mental health is we tend to treat the “heart attack” after it happens.
This is a perfect way to understand where we are right now. The attention on mental health in the workplace is a sensitive topic to say the least. But the ongoing pandemic forces us to confront hard issues. Serious Mental health challenges threaten our country’s ability to rebound. Even before COVID-19, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) was costing us over $210.5 Billion per year.
Executives and management teams are realizing we can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. Alcoholism, substance abuse and workplace anxiety are all too real. Some like to claim work life is work life — and that personal issues should be addressed on personal time. However, that precludes one inescapable fact: we work best when we feel best. When we feel poorly, we work poorly. Therefore, Improved support models mean improved job performance.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. There are workers who navigate through their daily tasks without allowing personal struggles to affect their work. However, for workers in need of support services, what does this mean for them? How do we offer them helpful support without judgement; and how can we do this with a sense of equity and inclusion?
It is important to note that, yes, there is evidence that mental health initiatives can improve job performance. Wellness programs have shown a positive return of investment [ROI] that range in different measures. Mental health and wellness initiatives have been proven to help reduce mental health costs as well as improve workplace productivity.
The implementation of wellness opportunities for staff and colleagues allows workers to participate and learn basic supportive interventions. This allows workers to improve as a team and promotes a more supportive and cohesive work environment. Secondly, those who feel better tend to take better personal care of themselves. This has a positive impact on absenteeism. This encourages better safety practices to help reduce workplace accidents. People who think clearly are able to work clearly. The returns on wellness initiatives are obvious. Improve the wellbeing of workers and workers will improve the workplace.
Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on thewrittenaddiction.com, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate. Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org