Last Friday, April 7th, was World Health Day. The World Health Organization (WHO) used this date to launch a one-year global campaign, Depression – Let’s Talk, to help people with mental health issues. The aim of this campaign is to ensure more people with depression both seek and get the help they require. More than 300 million people now live with depression, which is an increase of 18% between 2005 and 2015.
In fact, depression is one of the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. The lack of support available and the stigma associated with mental health issues prevents people from seeking out the help and support they need to live healthy and productive lives. Very often mental health issues are not the primary diagnosis for an employee out on leave or disability; although, these underlying mental health issues can affect an employee’s recovery and return to work.
How do you deal with these issues in the workplace?
In the US alone, 1 in 5 people1 are dealing with a mental health situation on a daily basis. There are probably many more who deal with these issues on a more irregular basis. With such a significant portion of the population suffering from mental health issues, it is imperative that employers look for ways to support employees.
With statistics showing that people with depression are 2.5 times more likely1 to suffer an injury while in the workplace, it is great to see that 86% of employers1 are interested in the associated risks that mental health has on the workplace. These effects can include, but are not limited to:
- Presenteeism, and
- Long-term absences.
When employees are absent for long periods of time, employers can suffer through inadequate staffing, employing temporary staff, reduced productivity, and low morale among remaining staff.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are becoming more prevalent in the workplace. These programs can vary in the range of support, covering a range of issues, including depression, substance abuse, chronic pain conditions, and disease management.
Even though it is great to have these support programs in place there is still a stigma associated with mental health issues. 58% of employers1 feel like workplace stigma has remained the same over the past two years, and 15%1 feel that it has increased.
Not only are employers affected by mental health, but very often employees suffer in silence. We would encourage employers to foster a supportive environment for employees. This year, you can choose to support the WHO campaign in their goal to ensure everyone has access to help when dealing with these issues. The WHO website has many campaign resources, which you, as an employer, can promote in your workplace.
If you are affected by depression or mental health issues, please contact your local helplines using this link.