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Employers can provide tools to aid workers with mental illness

Mental health is one of the fastest growing concerns in the workplace. Unfortunately, it is also one of the least openly addressed problems for workers who are struggling with some form of mental illness on the job. Missouri workers who have concerns about their mental well-being may benefit when an employer makes an effort to address this legitimate problem.

According to the Center for Prevention and Health, nearly 20 percent of the American population suffers from some form of diagnosable mental illness. This problem -- along with substance abuse -- can cost companies more than $79 billion every year in lost productivity and treatment costs. Therefore, it may benefit both employers and workers if companies take steps to assist employees in seeking mental well-being.

One of the first steps companies can take is helping workers achieve a healthy balance between work and private life. Employees who are encouraged to work overtime may wind up costing companies more in the long run when they suffer from burnout and stress. Additionally, companies are encouraged to discuss mental illness in the workplace and provide access to screening tools and benefits that can help employees seek help whenever they have concerns about their mental health.

Companies may also provide in-service training on a periodic basis that educates workers about the signs and symptoms of a possibly treatable mental illness. Lastly, companies that allow for open discussions about stress, anxiety and depression may help alleviate some of the stigma that has surrounded the issue of mental illness, which may encourage workers to share more freely about the challenges they may be facing. Missouri workers who are struggling with any work-related illness or injury may qualify for workers' compensation benefits. In order to have a qualifying claim processed in a timely manner and for the maximum amount of benefits for which one may be entitled, workers may enlist the services of an experienced attorney.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Ways to create a mentally strong workplace", Amy Morin, May 25, 2018

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