Blog > diversity management

Workplace Diversity and Mental Health

For Mental Health Awareness Month, now is a fantastic opportunity to become more aware of and include 20% of your employees and consumers.


Yes, 20%! One in every five adults suffers from a mental health disorder problem. That's more than 40 million Americans or more than the combined populations of 20 US states! Poor mental health comes at a high cost for businesses. According to a study of ten big corporations, depression is the most expensive employee health condition. Depression has an annual economic cost of more than $210 billion. A recent study found that about 18% of US workers had "had symptoms of a mental health illness in the previous month," with the most frequent disorders being depression, stress and anxiety, and drug addiction.


What is the solution? Include mental illness in your organization's definition of diversity. This is why:


Diversity as Mental Health - Diversity is defined as "the condition or fact of being different, difference, unlikeness." People differ in ethnicity, religion, heritage, sexual orientation, and other ways. They also differ in terms of health: everyone's health is varied.


Have included the 20% - Another definition of diversity is the inclusion of persons representing more than one national origin, race, religion, social strata, sexual orientation, etc." The inclusion of 20% of the population is a good business decision. A diversity initiative's three main objectives are awareness, respect, and inclusion, in that order.   Be aware of differences. Differences should be respected. Ensure that you are inclusive as well.


Destigmatize and Welcome - Inclusion implies embracing individuals of all racial, gender, sexual, age, and religious backgrounds. It also entails embracing those who have mental and cognitive impairments. Together, we can improve the lives of individuals who are impacted and put an end to the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and disorders.


Watch Your Language - Refraining from using damaging language is a good place to start when promoting business mental health awareness. I have had a mental illness. Thus it really hurts when others refer to me by my diagnosis. Avoid sayings like "that's schizo," "he's definitely ADHD," or "she was acting so bipolar."


Shout Out - Another alternative is to give shout-outs to great leaders who have mental health or learning issues. Many notable people, from US presidents to Fortune 500 CEOs, from movie stars to famous artists, have suffered from mood or cognitive disease.


Wellness Advantages - What are the advantages of adding corporate mental health programs to your training? It makes sense for a company that operates a factory to keep its machinery in good working order. People are more essential than machines, so it makes excellent financial sense to maintain your human resources functioning efficiently.


Wellness ROI - Workplaces that make the commitment to corporate mental wellness to safeguard their employees' health - mind, body, and spirit - earn significant ROI. According to the Center for Workplace Mental Health, 80 percent of employees treated for mental health issues report improved productivity and job satisfaction. And having happy, focused employees is much more productive and pleasant.