Mental illness is a stubborn foe. It affects how we think, feel, and act. Advocates must dispel the perception that depression and related conditions are a private concern that belongs in the shadows. Progressive business leaders understand that mental health is a shared concern and that promoting mental health and overall organizational health are the same fight.
Today is World Mental Health Day which seeks to build awareness and drive education and advocacy. Since its first observed year in 1992, we have made modest progress in raising awareness and in reducing the stigma around mental health issues. A report from the Mental Health in the Workplace Summit held earlier this year confirms how far we have to go.
- Mental illness is the leading cause of disability for U.S. adults aged 15 to 44.
- More days are lost to absenteeism due to mental health than to other illness or injury.
- One in five U.S. adults experience mental illness in a given year, and only 43% receive treatment (Deloitte).
- Mental illness costs the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity, with over 300 million people suffering from depression (World Health Organization).
It is in the best interest for everyone to continue to destigmatize mental illness and to connect affected employees with the comprehensive care they need. Leadership and HR must ensure that employees know how to access that support and care even if they do not wish to disclose an issue with their manager.
Beyond these fundamental steps, business leaders should keep in mind the following four strategies for promoting mental health and building overall organizational health.
Published on Oct. 10, 2018
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