Connection Between Mental Health and Productivity

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<p><strong>Buffalo, N.Y. &mdash; Nov. 13</strong><br />Employers do not address mental health matters in the workplace, and many employees don&#39;t even understand their current mental health benefits, according to a survey by Meritain Health and the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health.<br /><br />The national study of 411 full-time employees with medical benefits found that employees are keenly aware that stress negatively affects them in the workplace, with 94 percent of respondents reporting that their stress level affects job performance. However, in contrast, 52 percent of employees said their employer does not address stress, work/life balance or mental/behavioral health with employees. Moreover, 40 percent of employees said they aren&#39;t aware of what mental/behavioral health benefits are offered by their employer. More than one-third of respondents (35.7 percent) would be more likely to use their mental/behavioral health benefits if their employer did a better job of promoting them.<br /><br />”These survey results illustrate the need for employers to better make the connection between untreated mental health conditions and lost productivity, offer more comprehensive mental health benefits and better promote these benefits to their employees,” said Chief Medical Officer of Meritain Health Dr. Larry Luter. “Preventing costly medical conditions begins with education and communication, and we look forward to starting the conversation.”<br /><br />Additional Survey Findings<br /><br />Results from the new survey showed that employees know mental health is important to their overall health and that stress significantly affects them in the workplace. It showed that 95.6 percent think mental and behavioral health is very (75.3 percent) or somewhat (20.3 percent) important in determining overall health.<br /><br />Employees are aware that stress negatively affects them in the workplace, with 94 percent believing their stress level affects job performance. Additionally:<br /><br />&bull;    55.8 percent said stress affects their general attitude;<br />&bull;    39.4 percent said stress affects relationships with co-workers;<br />&bull;    36.2 percent said stress affects their productivity;<br />&bull;    35.5 percent said stress affects the quality of their work;<br />&bull;    33.2 percent said stress affects their relationship with their supervisor.<br /><br />The national survey also discovered that workers think their employers do not place enough emphasis on mental health and do not adequately communicate their current mental health benefits to employees.<br /><br />Meritain Health is making great strides toward improved access for mental and behavioral health as part of its Healthy Merits Program. Healthy Merits is a comprehensive total population management program designed to help companies manage mental and behavioral health through health risk assessments to identify and treat illness to help employees be more productive and lead healthier lifestyles for the long term. Healthy Merits disease management program targets mental illnesses such as depression that can lead to presenteeism or absenteeism in employees. Employees have access to several communications tools to help educate them about the benefits and resources available to them as part of Healthy Merits.<br /><br />”Meritain Health promotes wellness and behavior change as the only effective long-term solution to rising health care costs,” Dr. Luter said. “Wellness must equally address the body and mind to be successful, and we hope these survey results will influence employers to begin thinking about the importance of increasing their focus on the mental and behavioral health of their employees.”<br /><br />The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, a program of the American Psychiatric Foundation, which collaborates with employers to address mental health, applauded Meritain Health&#39;s support of mental health and for educating employers about the increased productivity that comes from treating mental illness.<br /><br />”Meritain Health&#39;s efforts to break down stigma and create an open conversation about mental health between employers and employees represents a crucial step toward improving Americans&#39; health and reducing lost productivity in the workplace,” said Clare Miller, director of the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health. “As employers continue to become more knowledgeable about wellness, it&#39;s crucial that they consider not only the prevalence and cost of mental illness, but also about the availability of effective treatments.” </p>

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