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Employee mental health is an essential component of workplace well-being and productivity, yet it is often overlooked or minimized.

According to data from Mental Health America, fewer than 20% of US workers say they feel comfortable discussing mental health issues with their manager or supervisor, despite 80% of respondents believing that their employer has some responsibility for the overall well-being of employees.

Employers are starting to recognize the importance of mental health in the workplace, and they are taking measures to ensure that their employees are supported and have access to resources that can help them manage their mental health.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why mental health in the workplace matters, the signs that employers should look out for, and some of the ways that employers can create a supportive environment for their employees.

The Impact of Mental Health on Performance and Productivity

The impact of mental health on employee performance and productivity cannot be ignored.

 When employees are struggling with their mental health, it can lead to decreased motivation, difficulty concentrating, and a decline in overall work quality.


Work absences and productivity challenges become more prevalent as employees may struggle to show up to work or give their best effort when they are mentally unwell or experiencing significant stress.

In fact, a study by the World Health Organization found that depression and anxiety disorders alone cost the global economy over $1 trillion in lost productivity each year.

Another study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that over one-quarter of adults in the US experience mental illness in any given year.

When employees are dealing with mental health issues, they may experience some of the following challenges at work:

→ difficulty managing time and meeting deadlines

→ missed opportunities for promotions

→ decreased overall performance

→ professional relationships and teamwork

→ communicating effectively

→ collaborating with colleagues

→ resolving conflicts

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These challenges can create a negative work environment and hinder productivity for the entire team.

How to Spot Signs of Mental Health Issues Among Employees

Being able to spot signs of mental health issues among employees is crucial for employers.

Pay attention to changes in behavior, such as:

  • increased irritability
  • withdrawal from social interactions
  • noticeable changes in productivity and work quality

Look out for physical symptoms like:

  • frequent headaches
  • digestive issues or changes in eating patterns (skipping lunch, etc).
  • absenteeism or excessive sick days

Signs of excessive stress or burnout:

  • such as constant fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating
  • increased reliance on caffeine or other substances
Notice if an employee is:

  • isolating themselves from colleagues
  • exhibiting a lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed

Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety or depression, including:

  • falling asleep at work
  • difficulty starting tasks
  • frequent crying
  • sudden weight loss or gain

By being vigilant and proactive in identifying these signs, employers can intervene early and provide necessary support and resources to help employees maintain their well-being and productivity in the workplace.

Supporting Employee Mental Health

Workplace stress costs American companies an estimated $300 billion per year in absenteeism, turnover, and decreased productivity.

Breaking the stigma surrounding mental health is crucial in creating a safe and supportive environment for employees to discuss their mental health. By fostering open and non-judgmental conversations, employers can encourage employees to seek help when needed and feel comfortable discussing their struggles.

Creating a safe space where employees can openly talk about their mental health can help break down barriers and promote a culture of empathy and understanding.

This can ultimately lead to increased mental health awareness, reduced stigma, and improved overall well-being in the workplace.

Some effective strategies for supporting employee mental health are: 

Promoting Work-Life Balance

Encourage use of PTO, sick days, etc., and discourage after hours communication or work.

Providing mental health resources and support

Have resources and referrals on hand. Encourage mental health trainings for staff.

Offer flexibility in scheduling and workload

If possible, offer flexible work hours, work from home options, or compressed workweeks.

Fostering open communication and feedback

Provide regular individual check in’s and positive recognition. Get to know individual aspects about your employees that are important to them (family, hobbies) and inquire about them to build rapport.

Creating a positive and inclusive culture

Inclusivity helps employees feel accepted and respected, leading to improved mental health. Engage in team building exercises or light discussions around mutually enjoyable topics.

Ensure that workloads are manageable and realistic

Set achieveable goals and expectations to avoid burnout.

Leading by example

Model a healthy work-life balance and open communication.

Encourage Breaks

Suggest employees get up from their desk several times per day to walk around, get fresh air, and engage in mindfulness to reset their brain.
These practices can help reduce stress, improve employee well-being, and ultimately enhance productivity and retention. Prioritizing employee mental health not only benefits individuals but also contributes to the overall success of the organization.

What are companies already doing to promote healthy mental well-being?

According to the World Health Organization, for every $1 put into scaling up treatment for common mental health disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity.

So what are employers already doing to help their employees stay on top of their mental health?

Let’s take Google, which offers a comprehensive mental health program called “gPause.” This program encourages employees to take breaks throughout the day to engage in mindfulness exercises and destress.

Another company leading the way in supporting employee mental health is Starbucks. They have implemented a program called “Cup of Kindness,” where employees can access resources and support related to mental health. Additionally, Starbucks has implemented “mental health first aid training” for their store managers, enabling them to identify and support employees who may be struggling with mental health issues.

A popular option, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) provide confidential counseling services and referrals for employees facing mental health challenges.

Companies can also offer workshops or training sessions on mental health awareness and stress management techniques.

By taking a proactive approach to mental health, companies are creating a supportive and inclusive culture where employees feel valued and supported. Ultimately, investing in employee mental health not only benefits the individuals but also leads to a more productive and successful organization.

Benefits of Supporting Employee Mental Health

As you can see, supporting employee mental health has numerous benefits for both individuals and organizations. When employees feel supported, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and productive. By prioritizing mental health, employers can reduce absenteeism, turnover, and healthcare costs. A supportive workplace culture also attracts and retains top talent.

Moreover, supporting employee mental health fosters a positive work environment, enhances overall well-being, and promotes a culture of empathy and understanding.

Ultimately, investing in employee mental health leads to happier, healthier, and more successful employees and organizations.

Begin Working With a New Bern Therapist 

By understanding how to support your employees through mental health challenges, you can create a happier, more productive and caring workforce. Our team of therapists would be happy to help you in learning more about strategies for supporting your employees with their menal health from our New Bern-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:

1. Schedule an appointment using this consult form.

2. Learn more about our skilled therapists.

3. Start enjoying the moment


Other Services Offered With Renewed Wellness Counseling

At our New Bern, NC-based therapy practice, we offer more a variety of mental health services. Our therapists specialize specifically in chronic illness counseling and stress and anxiety counseling For those going through a life change, we also offer life transitions counseling. We are also happy to offer trauma therapy, addiction counseling, and support for veterans Let’s work together to get you to a good place!