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The Real Cost of Mental Health Issues to Your Business

You may have heard before that there are two aspects to most problems – the mental and the physical.   When it comes to health care, employee well-being, productivity, and your bottom-line you better know that the mental aspect is where your attention should be.

The World Health Organization defines mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.

Mental health isn’t something we typically and openly talk about at the office but not addressing it may be a bigger problem for you.  The APA (American Psychiatric Association) reported that approximately 1 in 5 adults suffer from an ongoing dysfunction mental health condition.  So, if it is not you (not right now anyway) then it will most likely be someone that you will work (or live) with.   Chronic stress and depression are two major and very common conditions that are related to one’s mental health condition.

When you suffer stress on a daily basis this indeed causes real and serious chemical changes in your body that are proven links to a weakened immune system and a host of serious health issues.  Several studies link chronic stress also with developing clinical depression.

Everyone knows that health care costs are skyrocketing and lots of folks are pondering ideas on how to curb this.   If you do the research, it becomes pretty clear that we should be focusing on positive employee wellness programs that create an environment that actually encourages employee participation.  In fact, according to a recent report, when properly administered, employers could expect a 3:1 return within 3 years when providing solid employee wellness programs. This means you can’t just “have a meeting” and pass out workbooks and expect good things to happen.  You need to get serious about it and make employee wellness, including mental wellness, a part of your work culture and mission.   And after all, the better your employees the better your business! 

Since this can only be a 500 word article, I’ll leave you with a few facts: 
  • Up to 80% of all doctor’s visits are from stress related ailments.  Here is a list of the most common often stress-related issues:
    • Fatigue, low energy
    • Poor sleeping patterns
    • Stomach, digestion and bowel problems
    • Frequent headaches
    • Can’t focus, “foggy” state of mind
    • Irritable, moody
  • Chronic stress can double a person’s risk for having a heart attack.
  • Up to 60% of employee absences can be attributed to stress and depression.
  • Chronic stress causes premature aging and deterioration.
  • People with depression lose on average 5.6 hours a week from depression related health problems.
  • A large recent study by human resource executives determined that mental health issues had the largest effect on indirect costs.
  • Depression is more common in “white-collar” job sectors than in any other.
  • Two-thirds of both men and women surveyed said that their work demands and work environment was a significant source of stress to them.
  • Some studies show a direct correlation between the amount of time a person spends in front of a computer and their likelihood of developing depression. 
  • In the U.S., depressed employees use, on average $4,000 per year of medical services versus less than $1,000 per year for non-depressed employees.
These “costs” associated with untreated impaired mental health issues don’t even touch the cost that could be associated with affected customer and co-worker responses.    

For ideas and solutions on what you can do to promote a healthier workplace, both mentally and physically, you can contact Kimberly Medlock at or 662-893-7933

-- Kimberly Medlock

Busy professionals know Kimberly Medlock - speaker, trainer and author - as the productivity expert of choice because of her simple, direct and common-sense approach. She addresses time, information and stress management issues with solutions you can actually live with.

Dr. Mel Jackson
What better means of taking control of your mental, structural, and nutrimental health than a visit to your local chiropractor.
9/19/2012 6:39:23 PM

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Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

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