It’s World Mental Health Day, a good opportunity to check in on mental health in the workplace. The CDC estimates that depression alone can cause 200 million lost workdays annually, costing companies as much as $44 billion every year.
Does that motivate employers to offer more mental health benefits? A 2014 survey from the American Psychological Association found just 45 percent of employees say they get help from employers to meet their mental health needs. But the APA’s Dr. David Ballard—who works with businesses closely—says company attitudes are changing.
“I think we’ve shifted from a lack of awareness and a lack of understanding to a desire to address it, but not always knowing how to do that,” he says
Case in point, Ballard points to the small Wooster, Ohio, company Certified Angus Beef, which may be on the cutting edge of mental health wellness.
Once a month, the firm brings in a clinical psychologist that staff can see on company time. On top of that, Certified Angus Beef offers employees and their family members up to three free visits a year.
“When we really looked at what people struggle with is all the stress, all the life stress,” says the company’s director of human resources, Pam Cottrell. She says in three years, utilization of services has tripled.
Ballard says what he likes about the Certified Angus Beef’s approach is that it’s easy, and affordable. The company spends less than $10,000 a year on the benefit.
Graphic by Shea Huffman/Marketplace
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