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Prioritizing Employee Mental Health

Prioritizing Employee Mental Health: From Burnout to Breakthrough

The last decade of history has been a bucket of ice water for society. So much has changed in a short amount of time and the ramifications of a global pandemic will be felt for many years to come. Add to this the growing strain of a looming recession and ever-present inflation, it’s no wonder people are stressed. I’m broke as such, prioritizing employee mental health has become increasingly important in human resources (HR) departments across industries.

According to a recent Forbes article, healthcare costs have been rising steadily, with an expected increase of 6.5% in 2023 (United Healthcare, 2023). The cost of healthcare is a significant concern for employees, and this can be especially true for those with mental health conditions. Care is hard to find, and the cost is often astronomical. As such, organizations that prioritize mental health awareness in their HR policies can create a positive impact on the overall well-being of their employees while simultaneously motivating employee retention.

Why We Should Care

A study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that HR professionals can have a significant impact on employee mental health by implementing policies that support mental health awareness and intervention (SHRM, n.d.). The study revealed that 89% of HR professionals considered employee mental health a priority, and 82% of organizations offered mental health benefits.

Furthermore, the study found that mental health support was linked to better retention rates and employee productivity. Given that 81% of the workforce is at risk of burnout, CEOs are prioritizing employee wellbeing today. When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to stay with their current employer, leading to a more stable and engaged workforce. Addressing mental health issues can save companies millions in costs associated with the turnover and onboarding of new hires.

Inflationary pressures can exacerbate stress levels for employees, making it even more important for organizations to prioritize mental health awareness. In the workplace, pressures to bring in new deals or business can feel overwhelming. Additionally, when employees are struggling to make ends meet personally, they may experience heightened levels of anxiety and stress, which can lead to decreased productivity and engagement.

Companies Doing It Right

Many major companies have taken action towards helping employees improve their mental health. Companies like Google have implemented mindfulness programs like the internal program called gPause which promotes meditation and mindfulness practices. It’s a small step in efforts to resolve a much broader problem but one that has been received with a lot of positive feedback.

Organizations can support their employees by offering financial wellness programs, counseling services, and mental health resources. HR departments can also provide education and training to managers and supervisors on how to recognize and respond to employees’ mental health needs. By providing these resources and support, organizations can create a more positive and healthy work environment for their employees.

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SHRM. (n.d.). SHRM research demonstrates HR’s impact on mental health. Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from

United Healthcare. (2023). Rising above the competition on total cost of health care. Forbes. Retrieved from

Karla Vallecillo is a Business Development Manager with TalentQuest. She is responsible for seeking, developing and defining close business relationships with potential business partners. After eight years in K-12 education, she joined the TalentQuest team but continues her fierce advocacy…

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