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May 16, 2016

As the San Diego Workforce Partnership and advocates across the country recognize May as Mental Health Month, employers can share the national campaign messages and materials to launch their own initiative to improve the health and wellness of their employees. Employers frequently refer to employees as their company’s greatest resource. Many employers have initiated wellness programs to foster a healthier and more productive work environment. Yet, there remains a reluctance to promote mental health as an integrated component of these benefits.

Expenses related to mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, cost employers approximately $100 billion annually. These costs include absenteeism, decreased productivity and additional health care expenses. Almost half of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosed mental health disorder at some point in their adult life. Identifying symptoms early, having access to resources and receiving mental health treatment translates into a healthier and more productive workforce.

How can your business take advantage of the annual Mental Health Month campaign and promote health in the workplace?

  1. Help reduce the stigma that is associated with mental illness and prevents people from seeking treatment by sharing information with employees. Wellness fairs inclusive of physical and mental health and encouraging exercise or meditation are ways to reduce stress and educate employees about the importance of personal mental health.
  2. Most mental illnesses are treatable, but many people don’t seek the help they need due to stigma. Employers can offer access to screenings provided by local mental health professionals, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or through free online screening tools.
  3. Increase knowledge of employee benefits already in place with insurance carriers, EAPs, wellness and other health care vendors.

Visit Mental Health America’s website for a free toolkit of fact sheets, key messages and sample communications to promote mental health awareness in your oganization. The website also has a link to a free online screening tool for four common mental health conditions: depression, anxiety, bipolar and PTSD.

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