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Tue, Jan. 21

Good mental health goes to business bottom line

The current economic environment is causing stress levels to be at all-time highs for many individuals. For the employer, this could be reflected in employees taking more time off to handle family matters, or to handle physical health issues. And it could also become apparent through lower productivity of employees while they are on the job.

Much research is available detailing the connection between mental health and physical health. People who have untreated mental health issues use more general health services than those who seek mental health care when they need it. For an employer, that can translate to dramatic, and unnecessary, increases in your organization's healthcare bill. The website www.mentalhealthamerica.net

offers the following information for employers to consider:

• Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress, and stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.

• Researchers estimate that 50 to 80 percent of all medical illnesses reported to physicians have a strong emotional or stress-related component.

More than 90 percent of employees agree that their mental health and personal problems spill over into their professional lives, and have a direct impact on their job performance. Some more interesting statistics:

• Untreated and mistreated mental illness costs the United States $150 billion in lost productivity each year, and U.S. businesses foot up to $44 billion of this bill.

• Workplace stress causes about 1 million employees to miss work each day.

• Three out of four employees who seek care for workplace issues or mental health problems see substantial improvement in work performance after treatment.

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