Effects of mental health in workplace

Although in former days mind and body were treated separately, nowadays the idea that our mental health affects our physical well-being is widely accepted. Therefore it seems only logical that more attention is being paid to the importance of mental health in the workplace.

The question is: why is mental health relevant?

L. Casey Chosewood, director of the Office for Total Worker Health at NIOSH:  “It is a win-win for the organization and the worker when you invest in the well-being of workers. The best companies invest in the health and well-being of their workers throughout the day. Workers bring that additional health back to the job the next morning in the form of increased productivity, decreased injury and illness risk, decreased health care spending, and more engagement with their work.”  Mental health affects worker productivity and the bottom line. Significant evidence supports the connection between individuals’ mental well-being and their ability to function at work. There are studies estimating that depression costs U.S. employers about $31 billion a year in lost productivity, and the annual cost of depression in the U.S. workplace to be $51.5 billion.

“The mind drives the activity of the body,” said Larry Masotti, director of strategic relationships for Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, a Mississauga, a Canadian workplace health and safety association. “We’ve seen movements all around the world on mindfulness – people being aware of what they’re doing and present in the moment. To work safely, people need to be mindful of what they’re doing, and that’s part of the conversation on mental health.” However, some people worry that by directing attention to mental safety, the focus on the more pressing responsibilities of physical safety will be undermined.  But even those in favour of addressing mental health agree that prevention of physical injury should remain the top priority for companies.