Approximately one in five employees in the U.S. experience major depressive disorder (MDD). The total cost of depression to American employers is now estimated to be $210.5 billion per year. And, for every dollar spent on MDD, an additional $4.70 is spent on direct and indirect costs of related illnesses, and another $1.90 is spent on reduced workplace productivity and costs associated with suicide linked to depression.
Furthermore, for every employee with a depressive disorder, a company loses an average of 32 productive work days per year. Depressed employees are 4 to 5 times more likely to experience work-related problems than employees with physical illnesses like diabetes or heart disease.
So why aren’t companies working harder to help their employees who struggle with mental health disorders?
Traditionally, there has been a stigma associated with not being the perfect employee who never needs help. But research shows that workplace depression and anxiety can be reduced by helping employees learn coping skills that increase their resilience. Resilience is defined as the ability of a person to maintain good mental health despite psychological or physical setbacks. One study found that business-initiated resilience programs resulted in a company gain of $1,846 per person in terms of greater productivity.
Workplace resilience training is helpful for workers that suffer from depression or anxiety on an ongoing basis, as well as supporting employees that have a rough time only occasionally, usually triggered by a major life transition such as a new job, a new baby, a sick parent or spouse, a partner’s layoff or a return to work after a maternity leave.
Online tools have been proven to be effective for building resilience. Technology apps, such as Happify, meQuilibrium, Headspace, Big Health and myStrength are all digital apps designed to help users combat mental health disorders by relaxing, meditating and completing other mind-calming exercises.
The Happify platform offers techniques developed by therapists in positive psychology, cognitive-behavioral therapy as well as mindfulness and meditation-based stress reduction. The app uses games to help users learn how to:
Resilience training has been shown to help all employees, but those at risk for depression, anxiety and workplace distress appear to benefit the most from these types of programs. Technology-based resilience therapy allows employees to remain anonymous as well as log in whenever it’s convenient for them, thereby increasing the chances employees will follow-through on the training opportunity.
Here are 5 tips for companies considering offering resilience training for their employees.
Businesses should start having conversations about wellness and wellbeing interventions. Employees need to understand they can have a successful career while still taking time to take care of themselves. Resilience training can help employees be happier and healthier and can benefit the company through improved productivity and reduced mental health costs.
Employee benefits experts at Lanier Upshaw are here to help your company control costs better and leverage benefits plans. Contact us today to learn more about the expertise and guidance we offer businesses on all aspects related to employee benefits.