Let’s face it, for businesses, paying attention to your employee’s mental health makes sense for both of the reasons below., and probably a few more as well.
Prioritizing employees’ mental health has become not just a moral issue, but also a tool to recruit and retain young talent. A 2019 poll by the American Psychiatric Association found that millennials—who now comprise the largest generation in the U.S. workforce—tend to be more comfortable than their older peers discussing their mental health at work. Investing in this area may also make financial sense, since untreated mental illness and substance abuse issues can be costly for employers. Untreated depression alone costs the average 1,000-person U.S. company more than $1.4 million per year due to missed days and lost productivity, according to the Center for Workplace Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Association Foundation.
I suspect that the financial loss due to lost productivity gets business owner’s attention, but with the fight for talent what it is in a low unemployment market like we have now, there is definitely a desire to do things that attract that talent. One of the things these young people, and others, are realizing is that if we’re going to spend such a large percentage of our time working, we should be surrounded by people who are looking out for us, in every way. Just like having staff trained to perform CPR, or know how to evacuate the building in a fire, there’s no reason to not have people on your staff with the ability to notice, and assist, with the mental health issues of their coworkers.