Is your organization prepared to manage America’s behavioral health crisis?

It’s an important question for your business.

Statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health tell us that 1 in 4 adult Americans experience mental illness in a given year. In other words, a quarter of your employees—25%—across all job types and at all levels are working while dealing with untreated behavioral health (BH) issues, including anxiety, depression, mental disorders such as bipolar and schizophrenia, and substance use disorders.

Whether it’s a caregiver dealing with depression while tending an aging family member, a personal struggle to overcome tobacco addiction, or simply the constant stress that accompanies today’s fast-paced, competitive work environment, it affects your business.

The impact on your business is real.

The price of employees working with untreated BH issues is significant. For example, physical healthcare costs go up because BH conditions complicate existing medical conditions. Workers comp claims increase. The Department of Labor estimates that 38-50% of all claims are related to workplace substance abuse.

Employees with BH issues have higher absenteeism. Even when at work, they’re not fully engaged—which affects everyone’s productivity. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports that an average worker with major depression disorder loses 32 workdays of productivity to presenteeism.

Is your organization prepared?

American businesses are vulnerable to the crisis, but some—including AmEx and DuPont—are addressing the crisis by promoting mental and physical wellness for employees and providing programs that encourage early recognition and reduce the stigma of seeking help. Early intervention increases the likelihood of successful treatment. Research from the CDC, for example, suggests that 80% of patients with depression will improve with treatment

So, how is your business doing?

The three key points are as follows:

  • Acknowledge. Does your organization realize how the BH crisis threatens American businesses, and how it can affect your business?
  • Respond. Is your organization responding? Does your leadership model responsible attitudes toward those seeking support, or is the stigma toward BH issues perpetuated by those in authority?
  • Evaluate. Are responses just the minimum required or are you offering effective programs that your employees can easily access? How do you know?

After all, it’s only a crisis if you’re not prepared.