Kevin Lindley, Safety Consultant, FRSA Self Insurer's Fund
Mental health and illness have become a hot topic in the media in recent years. Mental illness affects people in all stages of life: every race, ethnicity, industry, occupation and age. Many people recognize they are experiencing an overwhelming amount of anxiety or depression. Unlike other chronic conditions that typically do not become known to individuals until their 40’s or beyond, mental health concerns are common in many young adults and may last throughout their entire working career.
Many safety rules and topics taught at work should be observed at home also. While this statement holds true, so does the acknowledgment that our behavior at home affects our performance at work. Although work life and home life are most often two separate entities, actions in either will have a direct impact on the other. Mental health has a direct connection to productivity, injury, illness, health care expense as well as the overall morale of the worker and everyone around them.
It is estimated that 19 percent of American adults are experiencing some type of mental illness and 46 percent of full-time American workers are suffering from mental health issues, many of which go untreated. In 2021, mental illnesses such as depression were estimated to cost employers $51.5 billion in lost productivity according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Read more.