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January 2024  Volume 22, Number 1        

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New Solutions for Employee Mental Health

More than one in five U.S. adults suffer from mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. An estimated four percent have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. While sometimes obvious, mental health issues often go unseen in the workplace, taking a silent toll on employees' well-being and job performance when unaddressed. However, new solutions allow employers to support what they can't see.

The Challenges of Unseen Struggles

Mental health disorders frequently go undiagnosed and untreated among U.S. adults. Of those with ADHD, less than 20 percent have received an official diagnosis, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. As a result, employees may be unaware of potential hurdles to their own success. They can also struggle to communicate their needs to managers.

According to one expert, ADHD involves more than difficulty focusing. It also entails challenges with time management, task juggling, and executive function. Overall, mental health problems often represent an unseen burden for employees.

Data underscores the issue's prevalence: 91 percent of employees recently surveyed don't feel well-rested, while 78 percent tie sleep troubles to mental health. This points to major unseen challenges, especially as seasonal daylight changes further impact mood and sleep quality.

The Toll of Unaddressed Struggles

Mental health disorders can significantly hinder workplace performance when unmanaged. In a recent survey of 500 employees with ADHD, 97 percent think they could accomplish more on the job if symptoms were better controlled.

The survey also found that 95 percent of respondents feel limited by currently available treatment options. Medications have changed little in decades, and risk side effects. Recent shortages have affected 88 percent of those on ADHD drugs.

Overall, 87 percent believe ADHD has negatively impacted their careers through events like negative reviews, stymied promotions, or rescinded duties. One worker even switched jobs after leadership first promised accommodations but later used his struggles against him.

Benefits of Proactive Support

Data shows employers should address mental health proactively. Calmer, more productive employees tend to have better focus, manage their time better and experience less frustration. They also typically demonstrate greater workplace loyalty.

A recent study linked strong sleep health to better workplace mental wellness. Experts stated that sleep is an easy entry point to discuss support needs without stigma, increasingly vital as more employees permanently work from home.

Lack of support for unexpected issues—like failed fertility treatments—can also provoke isolation and silent suffering. One leader even helps global workforces evacuate from emergencies abroad, noting crises can impact dispersed staff just like those in headquarters.

Tailoring Solutions to Support Success

Experts cite erasing stigma as the prime step to support mental health disorders in the workplace. Speaking openly about managing struggles can encourage workers to seek help proactively and helps fight stereotypes about conditions like ADHD.

Many also call for enhanced benefits offerings so employees can access evidence-based behavioral therapies and non-drug digital solutions. The vast majority of people with ADHD are eager for additional support and chances to perform at their peak.

Implementing new digital therapies is especially prudent as tech advances. Apps that build critical cognitive skills through games are gaining traction for boosting workplace effectiveness. Such tools also work around recent medication shortages.

Substantive changes to health plans and workplace culture are key to nurturing productivity, according to one expert. With better assistance, both leadership and staff can thrive.

Employees gain back lost time otherwise wasted struggling silently with an unseen health condition. Statistics clearly demonstrate that supporting mental wellness also pays dividends for employers seeking to retain top talent and gain a competitive edge.

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In this issue:

This Just In ... More Tax-Free Money for Medical Costs: IRS Raises 2024 Health FSA Cap

Sick Days Have Doubled, but Morale Is Up

New Solutions for Employee Mental Health

Healthcare Credit Cards: The Employee Benefit That Pays You Back

Government Tips for Accurate EEO-1 Reporting



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