By Pooja Priyamvada
The World Health Organization has reported that mental health issues and behavioral disorders account for almost one -a fourth of time lost to disability. The treatment rates of mental illnesses are so low that they silently and conspicuously affect careers and productivity over a period of time.
Often the social stigma attached to having a mental health issue prevents employees to seek treatment or reveal their issues to the employers. Some also keep it a secret assuming that a revelation of being a mental health survivor might jeopardize their job prospects.
Studies indicate that if mental disorders remain undiagnosed these may affect workplace productivity adversely. For instance, a survivor of undiagnosed social anxiety disorder and depression might also be vulnerable to suffer a sleep disorder and emotional issues and hence his/her overall alertness, concentration and ability to work may reduce.
Over a long period of time, these can make a person skip crucial work meetings/assignments, take repeated or extended sick leave, or continue working with reduced cognitive capabilities affecting the quality of work outcome.
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Sometimes, the employee is unaware that there is a problem, they never seek psychological help and thus no diagnosis or treatment happens and often such issues worsen. Hindered productivity isn’t only applicable to employees who might have a long-term mental illness, but even those workers who display a few symptoms that match with some diagnostic requirements also lead to reduced work outcome.
National workplace participation data was used to analyze the connection between productivity and various symptoms of mental illness by the researchers at the University of Albany to find out workplace outcomes of those displaying some symptoms of panic disorders, social phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, and major depression. The results indicated that symptoms related to depression and anxiety were significant factors influencing performance.
Their results show that the most significant effect on job performance was seen in the case of workers who had symptoms of depression, sleep disorders, and emotional imbalance, etc.
Also, women workers who struggled with major depression displayed fatigue on the job more frequently. It is time for companies and organizations to think of mental health care as a worthy investment.