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“Mind" Matters: Why It's Important to Prioritize Mental Health at Work

Mental Health Awareness is a current hot topic. It is one of the side effects of COVID–19. This heightened awareness of the importance of mental care is a silver lining in one of our nation's darkest periods.

An organization’s efficiency can be correlated to the mental stability of its employees. Consider the statistics below:

  • Employees with untreated mental health conditions use nonpsychiatric health care services 3 times more than those who do get treatment.

  • Mental illness is the single greatest cause of worker disability worldwide.

  • 62% of missed workdays can be attributed to mental health conditions.

  • 50% of full-time employees have left a role for mental health reasons. This percentage is significantly higher for Millennials (68%) and Gen Zers (81%).

  • Mentally distressed workers are 3.5 times more likely to have substance use disorders.

Source: Don Mordecai, MD Published: November 23, 2022.

This post COVID era raising awareness creates a great opportunity for employers to protect their organization by making mental health a priority. Here is a list of 4 things employers can do to prioritize mental health.

1. Leadership Education – As we know, organizational leadership is paramount to success. Organizations must train their leaders on mental health. Ensure your leaders know and share the benefits your organization offers. Also, train your leaders on how to dismantle stigmas associated with mental health. These efforts can create invitations to open employee communication, which will contribute to a healthy work environment.

2. Employee Education – Promote and share mental health awareness information with every member of your organization. A great way to do this is to offer frequent stress management seminars. Consistent reminders and easy access to your EAP program can also help promote good mental health.

3. Performance Management – You may find that not everybody is in the position they should be in. In other words, ensure that team members are in professionally and personally appropriate positions. These alignments can increase their personal fulfillment and success. They also increase productivity by enhancing team members’ confidence in their work. The leadership team can use this process to foster honest conversations about where employees are and where they would like to go.

4. Workplace Flexibility - Balance is the key to many aspects of a successful life. The multi-generational workforce requires many different things from employees. Employees juggle many responsibilities. Some are raising small children, others are assisting elderly parents, and some have a combination of the two. And remember some team members are preparing for retirement and want a reduced schedule. An additional factor to consider is the growing requirement for continuing education.

This is a full plate for an employee to handle in an 8+-hour workday. Juggling many different things can increase stress factors leading to shortened tenure and lower productivity. Prioritizing flexibility alleviates the stress for employees while allowing them to lead a more enjoyable, productive, balanced life. In addition to maintaining current talent, workplace flexibility can also increase an organization’s ability to attract top talent.

John Lewis said, “We must bring the issue of mental illness out into the sunlight, out of the shadow, out of the closet, deal with it, treat people, have centers where people can get the necessary help.” If organizations heed these words, they will greatly improve their most important asset – their people.

If you have questions about how to improve mental wellbeing in your workplace, we can help. Feel free to reach out and connect with one of our human resource and recruiting experts. Contact us at or 703-362-0175 to set up a time to discuss how our team can support you.


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