Investing in Minds, Improving Margins: Catapult’s Role in Transforming Workplace Mental Health

Workplace mental health is real and has an economic impact. 

Imagine a hidden epidemic that costs American businesses over $100 billion annually, yet often goes unaddressed. The American Institute of Stress reports that work-related stress is the leading workplace health problem, with around 83% of US workers suffering from it. The stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace remains a significant barrier to seeking help, with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reporting that 80% of employees feel shame, embarrassment, or fear of judgment if they were to seek treatment for mental health issues. Mental health issues can contribute to higher turnover rates. Employees experiencing mental health challenges may leave their jobs due to stress, burnout, or a lack of support.  

The economic burden of untreated mental health conditions on employers is significant. According to the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, untreated mental illness costs American businesses over $100 billion each year. Mental health issues can significantly impact productivity. The WHO estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion per year in lost productivity. Mental health issues contribute to absenteeism (missing work) and presenteeism (working while unwell). According to the CDC, depression alone causes an estimated two hundred million lost workdays each year in the United States, costing employers $17 to $44 billion annually in lost productivity.  

So, what does all this mean? It’s time to confront the silent crisis of mental health in the workplace by transforming stigma into support and turning challenges into opportunities for growth. 

Steps you can take to support workplace mental health:

It is essential for both employees and management to understand mental health issues, including common conditions like anxiety, depression, and stress. Education can help reduce stigma and encourage open discussions. Creating a workplace culture that supports mental health is vital, including flexible policies, workload management, open communication, training for managers, encouraging work-life balance, peer support networks, and regular check-ins between managers and employees.  

People Managers should be trained to recognize signs of mental health issues and know how to handle conversations with employees sensitively and effectively. This can include training on active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution.  

Human Resources (HR) plays a crucial role in promoting workplace mental health and supporting employees’ well-being. Key aspects of HR’s role include policy development, training and education, providing resources and support, and influencing your organization’s culture and climate. By actively engaging in these areas, HR can contribute to creating a workplace environment that fosters mental health, resilience, and overall well-being for all employees.  

How Catapult can support you: 

Catapult Learning Solutions offers public courses for HR professionals and people managers as they seek to support the mental health of employees. Examples include:  

Reach out to and find the right training for your organization and employees. We’re here to make sure you and your people are ready for what comes next.  

Written by Catapult Director of Learning Solutions Carlie Houchins, EdD.