While mental illness affects about one in four Americans each year, employers that provide mental health support for employees are not yet the norm in the U.S.

A Workplace Options poll finds that 42% of Americans said their employers had no support structures or programs in place to help employees deal with mental health issues such as stress, anxiety or depression. Just 47% say their employers had any kind of emotional well-being support available, while 11% have no idea what their employer offers.

Read: Taking action on mental illness

“This survey shows that most Americans either don’t have or don’t know about emotional support programs available through their employer—and I’m not sure which is worse,” says Workplace Options CEO Dean Debnam. “The reality is that mental health issues are a much more serious problem than the business community believes. For employers in other parts of the world, mental health and emotional support for employees is a given. We haven’t reached that point yet in the U.S.”

More than one-third (37%) of working Americans report they have dealt with a mental illness impacting them or a family member during the course of their career. And 45% report that they work with at least one colleague or co-worker who has done the same.

Read: Mental health in the workplace

Even more interesting for employers is that 63% of those who said they had personally dealt with mental health issues missed work because of it—with 40% saying they missed several full days, a week or more.

“When employees are dealing with stress, anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness, it’s difficult for them to do their job effectively,” says Debnam. “These issues impact people, profits and operations. When 45% of employees that deal with mental health problems have to change their work schedule because of what they’re going through, it’s a sign to the business community that this issue is worthy of some serious attention.”


Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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