Why is Mental Health Overlooked in the Workplace

People who have mental illness are often stigmatized and discriminated against because companies and employees do not understand how serious the illness can be. Early diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses can alleviate problems in the workplace and in general.

If overlooked, they can lead to severe issues, including death. If you are an employer, you want to be sure you are knowledgeable about mental health disorders and how to deal with it in the workplace.

Mental health challenges in workplace can also cause severe consequences not only for the employees, but for performance and productivity of the organization. This means organizational performance, staff turnover, employees’ rate of illness and absenteeism are possibly at risk.

Despite if people believe mental illness is important or not, it is still constantly overlooked, here’s why:

Afraid of Mental Illnesses

Many people are afraid of mental health issues, or don’t even believe them as real problems because they have never experiences them first hand. This causes different reactions to mental illness situations – 47 percent of Americans feel uncomfortable even living next door to someone who has a mental illness.

It’s common in families to avoid the “mental illness” topic completely, because certain families think it’s not that serious, and will avoid it hoping it will go away.  Another point is that mental illnesses are lowly funded because of heavy pressure on health budgets.

More importantly, the neglect of mental health is caused by the prevalent myths and ignorance of the gravity of the problem.

Ignorance of the Gravity of Mental Problems

Ignorance of the impact of mental problems is one of the critical reasons why mental health is overlooked in the workplace. Employers are likely to focus on the physical well-being of their employees, without fully knowing all of the problems they could possibly be going through.

Mental illnesses can lead to loss of productivity in the workplace, social exclusion, early retirement, social security disability, and debilitating diseases. As an employer, you should be cautious of overworking your employees, and getting to know them on a personal level to make sure they’re doing well.

Wellness programs are becoming more popular today because of the correlation between a successful business and happy, healthy employees.

Some employers are oblivious to the warning signs associated with mental problems in their staff until the situation has gotten to a stage of medical and disability claims. In such cases, it will be too late for employers to lend their help.

Stigma and Discrimination

Stigmatization and discrimination are aimed towards downgrading and ostracizing somebody because of their mental disorder. Because of stigma and discrimination attached to mental health issues, many employees need help opening up at work because they fear of harming or losing their jobs.

One compelling way of overcoming stigma and discrimination attached to mental health issues in the workplace is for employers to create an environment where mental health issues could be discussed freely without any fear of job loss or career damage. Targeted efforts should be made by employers to address stigma by organizing seminars, courses, campaigns, and programs about mental illnesses in their workplaces.

This way, employees won’t feel so embarrassed or afraid to open up about their problems, and other employees might be going through the same things.

Budget Problem

Employers might think they can’t afford mental health benefit package, but it is beneficial overall. Having some sort of plan in place is necessary so your employers can stay healthy. This type of plan can offer short-term treatment, counseling sessions, and more. This can be really expensive, but in the long run it is worth the money.

Some employers are happy with not having a package plan, and believe that their employees should be able to deal with their mental status privately. The employees, who are fully aware of the situation at their workplace, are not obliged to discuss their mental state with their employers. This might create a kind of workplace that neglects mental health altogether.

Having a benefit package plan in the workplace can benefit employees in more ways than one. The medication and services they need to get themselves better can be very costly. If they are able to get these services through their workplace, they can avoid falling into debt due to high medical bills – which is the main cause of bankruptcy, and other personal problems on top of what they’re already dealing with.

Why it needs to Be Addressed Sooner Rather than Later

It is essential for employers to recognize the impact of their employees’ mental conditions on their productivity, and devise programs for meeting the emotional needs of their employees. As an employee, it is good to discuss any mental challenges you are facing as result of work with your employer.

Mental health issues are covered by social security disability, so that is an option you can consider. If you’re still struggling with your health, and your job is not providing help, and adding to the issues, you might consider if you should quit, or if you should stay.

Your mental health is just as important and your physical health–so you want to be sure you are taking care of yourself at all costs. If your mental health problems are being frowned upon or overlooked in your workplace–take the necessary action to get yourself in a better place.

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