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Mental health is a topic of discussion that has been in the spotlight over the past few years. With many celebrities speaking out about their past with mental health, it’s becoming easier for many people to speak out about their own challenges. While millions of Americans struggle with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, millennials have a particularly high rate of mental illness.
Today, 53 million Americans live with a disability of some kind. While the most common type of disability is related to limited mobility, mental health-related disabilities are also quite common. With more young people entering the corporate world, making workplaces safe spaces for employees with mental illnesses isn’t just compassionate, it’s an essential step to promote productivity and worker retention.
According to Forbes, 20% of millennials report that they struggle with depression or have struggled with it in the past. That is much higher than the baby boomer generation, as well as Generation X. While most business owners aren’t used to grappling with issues such as mental health, these disorders can have a serious effect on employee productivity.
David Michigan , a mental health coach, says that millennials not only struggle with depression but also deal with stress and anxiety. These issues are caused by many different factors, some of which may come from work-related problems. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce stress in the workplace and provide resources for employees to treat health problems like mental illness.
About 86% of businesses that have an employee recognition program say they have an increase in worker happiness. Of course, that’s just one simple strategy for promoting employee wellness.
For instance, as an employer, you could offer your employees many different wellness programs. Offering them opportunities such as group yoga, health and diet programs with incentives and rewards, and giving them mandated breaks throughout the day that will give them a chance to breathe and get away for a little while can really help.
It’s also important to show your employees that they’re not alone and have someone to talk to whenever they need it. Michigan spoke to Forbes about this idea.
“Sadly, mental health issues are very isolating. For millennials, this is often compounded by the false, social narrative that has been created about them,” Michigan said. “Not only do they suffer because of mental health problems, they also fear being labeled ‘special snowflakes’ or seen as being spoiled and entitled.”
About 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain in their lifetime, and most business owners wouldn’t think twice about accommodating an employee with physical health issues like this. However, the idea of accommodating mental illness is foreign to many Baby Boomer business owners who have bought into the taboo surrounding mental health.
So while bosses shouldn’t be personally approaching individual employees about health issues, many companies are investing in employee assistance programs that can provide anonymous support to struggling employees. Regardless of the strategies they choose, more and more business owners are waking up to the fact that mental health in the workplace can no longer be ignored.