Poor work performance and absenteeism are often side effects of poor mental health, and businesses can lose millions of dollars because of them. The first step a company can take to address mental health in the workplace is to assess the mental health of employees.

Don’t ignore mental health in the workplace

Along with providing convenient and confidential access to healthcare providers, companies can improve mental health in the workplace through methods of assessment, looking for signs and symptoms, and asking the right questions of employees to get honest answers.

Nearly one-quarter of adults experience a diagnosable mental illness during a given year, but mental health, especially in the workplace, is often overlooked. Many people associate symptoms with daily stress or normal lifestyle changes. One of the easiest and most effective ways for employers to address mental health in the workplace is to help employees simply recognize their risk factors.

How employees can improve mental health

Employers can give access to a mental health professional by providing onsite healthcare or inviting a provider in to give free screenings. These confidential assessments usually involve a simple questionnaire, and if the screening reveals a high risk for a mental health issue, the employee can be referred to another specialist for further assessment.

Employers can also direct employees to online self-assessment tools. Some available tools help identify symptoms of common mood disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Check Up from the Neck Up and Working Through It are two resources that apply to mental health more generally. Other tools are more targeted and measure an individual’s mental health risk based on work-life balance, alcohol-use, or living with a disability.

Once you’ve identified mental health issues in your workplace, or educated employees to identify the signs and symptoms of mental health issues, you can provide resources to improve mental health, including an EAP, exercise and nutrition programs, work-life balance initiatives, and more.

About the Author: Marathon Health

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