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Workplace Health and Safety

Shining a Light on Mental Health in the Workplace

Between 30 to 50 percent of adults in the United States experience mental illness at some point in their lives, the most common of which are anxiety, depression and substance use disorder. For workplaces, failing to address these conditions results in higher rates of safety incidents, absenteeism, presenteeism and stress imposed on team members. In addition, retention, performance and productivity are all negatively impactedMost employees want to bring their best selves to work, but sometimes they can’t do it by themselves. A supportive work environment can make all the difference.

Filling the gaps ​​​​​​​

The Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) has partnered with an advisory council led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to actionably address issues of stigma and mental health at work. Councilmembers included reps from the CDC, NIOSH, American Psychological Association, National Business Group on Health and Prudential Financial, and when we first got together we realized there was a gap between the information we collectively knew about addressing mental health at work and the information that most employers have access to. Our goal was to get tactical by providing tools employers can use right now to improve their employees’ mental health.

The four Fs

Employers looking to share additional resources and create supportive cultures for mental health should consider these 4 Fs of managing mental health at work. According to the 4 Fs, a great workplace mental health intervention:

Is foundational to the organization. Has a focus on reducing stigma while addressing behavior from a business-relevant performance standpoint. Has the energy and infrastructure to facilitate employees getting the help they need. Has an overall goal to help employees flourish.

For more about the current state of mental health in the workplace and how organizations are taking action, explore WELCOA’s Workplace Mental Health Toolkit.

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