Business Group Blog

It's Time to Talk About Mental Health

Would you rather call in sick or disclose a mental health issue to your boss? For many, the stigma and bias associated with mental illness is the greatest barrier to treatment, but we can make that change. According to the 2019 Business Group/Optum Well-being Survey, one in four employees want more mental health supports from their employer.

This is a worldwide issue. According to the World Health Organization, between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries receive no treatment, and in high-income countries, between 35% and 50% of people with mental disorders are in the same situation.

While Mental Health Awareness Month ended last month, the Business Group is continuing the conversation with our recently published Mental Health at Work Infographic. This resource shares need-to-know information on the relationship between work and mental health, data worthy of attention and insights on how to build a culture where employees feel comfortable opening up about mental health.

Here are a few ways employers can extend help and hope to employees:

  • Offer a variety of mental and emotional health supports to address the diversity of issues employees experience at any given moment, such as resilience training, paid time and flexible work arrangements to seek care, on-site mental health care and digital solutions
  • Ask leaders to lead by sharing their stories, showing compassion and normalizing the conversation about emotional health
  • Train managers to identify issues and refer employees to appropriate resources
  • Launch a communication plan to address the stigma of mental health and rebrand EAP and EAP-like services to boost engagement
  • Empower employees to address stigma through champions and peer advocates
  • Make the connection between mental health and other business and employee priorities, like diversity and inclusion, caregiving, performance, and even sleep
  • Increase access to high-quality, low-cost information and care

Interested in learning more about how employers are addressing mental health? Join us for these upcoming events:

  • Actionable Strategies to Address Mental Health: A Virtual Summit Series (Kick-off June 26th): This summer, the Business Group will host a series of in-depth virtual summits highlighting the most current guidance to address mental health in the U.S. and abroad. Throughout the series, employers and experts will bring an understanding to the current state of affairs, as well cutting-edge solutions being implemented to address stigma, access, substance use disorder and more. You won’t leave without learning something new!
  • Workforce Strategy 2019 (September 17-19 in San Diego): This year’s conference features must-see sessions like—A Word Without Stigma: How Two Fortune 500 Employers Are Driving Change, Backstage Tour of the Brain: Understanding Stress and Resilience, and Overcoming “Life Sucks Disease”: Loneliness, Purpose, and Love. Register before June 28 for the early bird rate.

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