Mental illnesses are among the most common and costly health issues affecting businesses in the developed world. According to the World Health Organization, at least 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives. In the U.S. alone, $150-$300 billion of business is lost each year in increased absenteeism and disability usage due to mental illness.
Creating and sustaining a psychologically healthy work environment is critical to a company’s success. Mid-level managers are often the gatekeepers of employee wellbeing, so they need to know not only how to create a supportive atmosphere overall, but also how to recognize the signs of stress and other mental-health issues.
Research has shown that with employee wellness and mental-health education, managers can help improve employee absenteeism and job retention. For example:
- American Psychological Association research has demonstrated that with just three hours of mental-health awareness training (MHAT), company leaders report better attitudes about mental health and higher motivations to promote positive relationships at work.
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health research has illustrated that teaching managers how to respect work-life harmony helps employees better manage their responsibilities and goals, improving both job performance and job satisfaction.
Highly effective owners and operators train their managers in skill sets that promote excellent mental health in the workplace, such as:
- creating the kind of safe and welcoming work climate that builds trust between supervisors and employees, decreases job-related stress, and increases job satisfaction; and
- coaching managers and supervisors to fully understand the company’s health benefits and programs, and encourage employees to access these resources.