Is poor mental health hurting our economy?

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Across America, millions of people struggle with issues such as anxiety and depression. Not only do these mental health disorders affect the productivity and quality of life of those who suffer from them, but they also have an impact on the success of our society. Mental health issues are draining the economy in more ways than one. Modern lifestyles and lingering inequality have the potential to negatively influence mental health. If we want our country to be economically successful in the future, it’s time to start talking about this issue and taking steps to make life better for us all, especially at work. Mental illness still carries an unacceptable stigma that is harmful to everyone and often prevents people from seeking help. Here’s how poor mental health is hurting our economy and what we can do about it. Inclusivity Is About More Than Fairness You might not think that inclusivity and mental health are closely related, but the fact is that discrimination is one of the many factors hurting our economy via mental health. Inclusivity is about more than just fairness, it’s about health and productivity. For example, studies have shown that gender discrimination influences mental health issues. Unfortunately, when it comes to creating inclusive workspaces, we’re not seeing much real progress. Women are woefully underrepresented in leadership roles in the workplace, and the problem isn’t getting any better. If we want to boost the economy and make everyone happier and more productive, we need to leverage the impressive talents of women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups in the workplace. Not only does inclusivity boost mental health, but it also makes businesses more successful and boosts organizational innovation. It’s truly a win-win—but we’ve yet to see a major cultural shift in this direction. Substandard Mental Health Problems Costs Companies Dearly It can be difficult for people to get help for mental illness. Some insurance plans have poor coverage, while many rural and low-income regions simply don’t have the resources to support people who need it. Additionally, many people are ashamed to seek out help due to ongoing stigma surrounding mental illness. It’s horrible that so many people have to suffer unnecessarily. Furthermore, poor mental health is costing companies big, in the form of lost productivity and absenteeism. Globally, the economic cost of poor mental health is estimated to reach a staggering $16 trillion over the next 20 years. While many companies are focusing on the money they’re losing thanks to their workers’ poor physical health, it’s important to realize that mental health losses are just as significant. By investing in better care for people struggling with depression and other mental illnesses, companies could improve both their bottom line and their workers’ well-being. Creating a Better Workplace for All Win-wins are pretty rare in our world. In many cases, sacrifices must be made in order to improve a problem within our society. However, mental health initiatives are actually one of those rare exceptions. By focusing on improving mental health, we can create a better workplace for all and better economic growth. Mental health is influenced by a number of different factors, and high rates of poor mental health within an organization are a good indicator that a company’s culture isn’t serving the workers or the business’s long-term success. Actions to improve the workplace can improve a company’s productivity and prosperity, making employees more likely to stay in their jobs and increasing overall happiness. Employers need to understand the value of investing in employees’ mental health. Increasing inclusivity, creating more flexible policies that make it easier for employees to manage their health, and offering more resources for employees who need mental health assistance are all investments that can pay off big. In fact, the WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that for every dollar spent to treat common mental health concerns, four dollars in productivity and health is generated. That’s pretty compelling for any organization! Bringing Mental Health Into the Spotlight We literally can’t afford to ignore the true cost of poor mental health anymore. We have the opportunity to both help provide our citizens with the tools they need to live happier, healthier lives, while also boosting the economy. It’s past time to bring mental health into the spotlight and to provide for those who are struggling with these issues. Doing so will benefit us all, in the present and in the future. Let’s end the stigma and work toward a happier, healthier world!

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