A Gemisode™ Series – Part I
May is a significant month in the United States for two important observances: Mental Health Awareness and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage. For those who may not be aware, AAPI Heritage Month is a yearly celebration that honors the vast contributions, achievements, and influences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. It was first established in 1979 as a weeklong observance and later extended to a month-long recognition in 1992 by then-President George H. W. Bush.
Mental disorders do not discriminate and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 in 8 people in the world deal with mental disorders. However, according to a report by the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups in the US, AAPI individuals are less likely to seek mental health services. So, as we take the opportunity to honor and recognize the contributions, rich culture, and diversity of the AAPI community, it’s crucial that we also consider the health and mental wellness of the community. This is particularly important given the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, discrimination, and racism, which the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified.
Observances matter and should be in focus continually, especially for businesses, as they are intricately tied to productivity and ultimately business success…
Mental health and wellness is a critical aspect of overall well-being, and it has significant impacts on innovation, revenue growth, productivity, retention, and workplace culture. Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and burnout can lead to increased absenteeism and presenteeism (being present but not fully productive), and higher turnover rates. In fact, according to WHO, “depression and anxiety cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year predominantly from reduced productivity”. More specific to the US, a study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that serious mental illness costs the US economy up to $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year; including costs associated with decreased workplace productivity and increased absenteeism, as well as costs associated with unemployment and disability.
Still unsure about why workplace wellness needs to be prioritized? Consider these key workplace success metrics:
- Productivity – Mental health conditions cost the global economy an estimated $1 trillion per year in lost productivity (WHO, 2021). Poor mental health can lead to absenteeism, presenteeism (being present but not fully productive), and impaired cognitive functioning.
- Employee Retention – Employee retention is crucial for businesses to remain competitive and successful. However, poor mental health can lead to high employee turnover rates, which can be costly for businesses.
- Workplace Culture – Stigmatization of mental health issues in the workplace can lead to discomfort, fear, and have a negative impact on organizational trust.
Companies with strong cultures have seen a 4x revenue increase. As a workplace leader, decision maker, or someone aspiring to become one, it’s important to educate yourself and prioritize the mental health and well-being of yourself and your employees, paying special attention to the unique needs of the communities represented in your workforce. Building a culture of wellness benefits not only employees but also shareholders and customers.
To create a healthy and inclusive workplace, it’s important to develop a workplace wellness and productivity optimization game plan. In Part II of this Gemisode series, we’ll dive into specific strategies and tools for building a healthy and inclusive workplace, including effective employee wellness programs and mental health training.
At Chapter tOO, we believe that “every organization is in the business of people“, and that’s why we’re committed to supporting workplaces in their journey to prioritize mental health and overall wellness. Connect with us to learn more about our services and how we can help optimize your workplace for wellness, productivity, and retention.
The time for prioritizing mental health and overall wellness in the workplace is NOW!