My mission is to shift the focus from talking about Mental Illness to actions creating Mental Wellness.
Mental Wellness is the bridge that maintains a healthy work-life balance. Mental Illness is where it falls apart.
It took me a while to realize that maintaining my Mental Wellness required a daily commitment, in the workplace and at home. It isn’t easy, but it’s real and doesn’t go away if we don’t do anything about it. Mental Wellness has to be managed. In the same way an athlete trains every day to perform at the highest level, we can give ourselves a high calibre and quality of life by working at and practising mental wellness every day.
Mental Illness Doesn’t Discriminate
Everyone suffers from Mental Illness in one form or another, such as anxiety, stress and/or depression.
We have all been sad. We all have feelings. We’ve all had loss in our lives and we’ve all struggled to manage the day-to-day demands of managing family, career, friends and relationships.
The first step to switching from a focus on Mental Illness and leaning into discovering what you need to embrace Mental Wellness is to accept you’re not alone. This is something you share with the people in your life – those you love, spend time with, work with and simply share space with. It’s also something you share with those you don’t know. It may be the one thing that affects every human being on the planet, and unfortunately, there aren’t nearly enough resources available to help. We need to fix this and it starts with having this conversation…
The Cost of Mental Illness
The workplace is only beginning to realize how Mental Illness can make or break corporate culture.
The lack of resources available to employees in the workplace to address Mental Illness impacts their ability to be present and participate in a positive employee experience for their colleagues and peers.
The cost of not addressing Mental Illness in the workplace is costing organizations through decreased productivity as a result of absenteeism and turnover, which is impacting the ability to sustain profitable operations. These are not soft costs; they are real, and don’t show up as a line item on a P&L but can be the difference between an engaged and motivated workforce and one that limits an organization’s ability to grow.
“The study commissioned by the MHCC (The Mental Health Commission of Canada) makes it clear that the economic cost to Canada is at least $50 billion per year. This represents 2.8% of 2011 gross domestic product.
Health care, social services and income support costs make up the biggest proportion of these costs. But it also cost business more than $6 billion in lost productivity (from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover) in 2011.
Over the next 30 years, the total cost to the economy will have added up to more than $2.5 trillion.”
(MHCC report: Making the Case for Investing in Mental Health in Canada. 2013)
The Return on Investment and Effort of Mental Wellness
A Mental Wellness program in the workplace is like a shot of adrenalin to an organization’s corporate culture.
Recognizing the need and providing resources, tools and support to employees in the workplace can have an immediate impact on productivity – presenteeism goes up, absenteeism goes down and the employee experience is one that thrives in an environment where people are supported and understood.
The ROI and ROE are quantifiable and can have a serious impact on the way an organization operates, but also the way it can continue to attract and acquire top talent. One of the most important organizational differentiators is employee culture. A workplace that is healthy, supportive and has an active Mental Wellness Workplace Program in place creates a culture that brings out the best in people by helping them manage the day-to-day stresses of Mental Illness.
The MHCC proved the Return on Investment on Mental Wellness Workplace Programs is from two to over twelve (12) times the investment. (MHCC “A Clear Business Case for Hiring Aspiring Workers: Findings from a research project that looked at the costs and benefits of recruiting and retaining people living with mental illness.” February 2018)
PwC Australia reports on average of 2.3 times every dollar spent, with some industries and organizations showing over 10 times. (PwC Australia “Creating a mentally healthy workplace – ROI analysis” March 2014)