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Supporting the Mental Health of Workers

For many, the annual arrival of spring evokes the old adage “take time to smell the roses.” Indeed, research has long shown a positive correlation between savoring the little things in life and one’s overall health and wellbeing.

But for some people, mental health conditions may get in the way of an ability to do so, regardless of the season. In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four adults experience a mental health condition in a given year, and about one in 17 live with a serious illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.

Held each May, Mental Health Month presents an opportune time for employers to consider how they can support employees who may have mental health conditions. The Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Job Accommodation Network has several publications with accommodation ideas for people with mental health impairments, while the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a guide for businesses interested in creating mental health-friendly workplaces. Employers may also benefit from Mental Health America’s information on workplace wellness, including tips on how to support an employee with a mental health condition.

Clearly, mental health-friendly workplaces are good for workers. But the benefits don’t stop there — employers also profit. Because health and wellbeing are critical to one’s ability to stay productive and focused on the job, they’re just another example of good business sense — this month and every month.