No business is too big or too small to feel the economic impact of untreated mental illness. The economic price tag of mental illness in the workplace is skyrocketing. A recent report puts the price at up to $80 billion in the United States. This figure includes medical costs, costs from lost productivity due to long-term and short-term disability, and costs to quality of life.
Mental illnesses have surpassed heart disease as the fastest-growing, costliest disabilities in the country.
Early intervention and treatment makes dollars and “sense.” For example, when workers get early access to treatment, companies can save $5,000 to $10,000 annually.
Getting an employee to treatment and thus cost-savings for the company is blocked by the ugly face of the stigma attached to mental illness. Many people don’t get treatment out of fear it will affect their job security if their employer knew they had a mental illness. Combating stigma should be a top priority for companies. How? First and foremost is to send a clear message to all employees that non-discrimatory practice applies to employees who have a mental illness. The company should make it clear it considers mental illness no different than a physical illness in how an employee should be treated in the workplace.