Mental illness can affect anyone and it is estimated that a quarter of American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for people aged 15-44. A variety of factors may contribute to mental illness, including a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors such as a reduction in work hours, dealing with a medical condition or stress at home.
Impact of Mental & Emotional Illness
Although many Americans experience mental illness, it often goes untreated. When left untreated, mental health issues can negatively impact employees’ job performance, productivity, level of engagement with work, communication with coworkers, physical capability and daily functioning. For example, depression is associated with a 20 percent reduction in a person’s ability to complete physical tasks and a 35 percent reduction in cognitive performance.
In addition to effects on job performance, mental illness can also be linked to chronic diseases, sleep problems and poor health behaviors like smoking and drinking. Finally, illness can impact overall well-being, happiness and quality of life.
Addressing Mental & Emotional Health
The first step in improving mental and emotional health is to erase the stigma associated with seeking help so people feel comfortable getting the help they need. Employers and supervisors don’t need to be therapists or counselors, but it is important they create an environment where workers feel they can come forward and get help. Employers and supervisors should also be familiar with the local or organizational resources available, such as through LIUNA health and welfare funds, and be prepared to share this information with workers to increase access to and utilization of these services.
Fund Resources & Services