Employees still continue to suffer from mental illnesses. And the latest stats prove it.

A recent Morneau Shepell survey shows that 33% of Canadian employees say they are currently suffering or have suffered from a mental health condition such as depression or an anxiety disorder, said Paula Allen, vice-president, research and integrative solutions, speaking at the Employers Connect event in Toronto on Wednesday.

That’s not good news for companies—especially in terms of employee productivity.

Read: 5 key stats about Canadians’ mental health

Fifty-eight percent of employees said their productivity has been negatively affected by work stress, and 45% said they considered leaving their job because of workplace stress and the impact on them. About one-third of employees have been absent from work and one-quarter have become ill in the last six months because of workplace stress.

Employers, however, can’t simply treat implementing mental health initiatives as an expense. “It’s not cost to your business,” she said. “It’s core to your business.”

In fact, 90% indicate that managing mental health is important for productivity. Eighty-six percent believe a mentally healthy workplace impacts loyalty, and 83% say it has an impact on attraction and retention.

Yet many employees are still not getting help. One reason why? Stigma is still a barrier.

Read: Workers lack mental health support

One-fifth (19%) of surveyed employees felt that whether someone becomes mentally ill is fully within their control, and 12% of employers shared this view.

Seventy-one percent of employees indicated concern about workplace stigma; 65% of employees indicated self-stigma. Another 53% indicated concerns of stigma from their doctor.

“Every single one of those things costs you money,” said Allen.

The workplace, it seems, can do more. And physicians in the survey agreed. Physicians said their No. 1 recommendation to create a healthy workplace was better communication and support. The No. 2 recommendation was counselling and guidance. The physicians indicated these two recommendations were more important for employees than suggesting time off or a reduced workload.

Morneau Shepell surveyed employers, employees and physicians across Canada in November and December 2014.

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Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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