Poor Mental Health Costs US $14 Billion Annually, Study Reveals

A Deloitte study finds that poor mental health costs the US $14 billion annually, with 93% of mental health problems among corporate employees linked to workplace stress. Experts recommend that leaders prioritize trust-building, add challenge to work, and provide mental health interventions to promote better mental health.

Quadri Adejumo
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Poor Mental Health Costs US $14 Billion Annually, Study Reveals

Poor Mental Health Costs US $14 Billion Annually, Study Reveals

A staggering $14 billion is lost annually in the United States due to poor mental health, according to a2022 Deloitte study. This alarming figure underscores the urgent need to address mental health issues, particularly in the workplace where a significant portion of these costs originate.

Why this matters: The economic burden of poor mental health has far-reaching consequences, affecting not only individuals but also the overall productivity and competitiveness of the US economy. By addressing mental health issues, the country can potentially unlock billions of dollars in lost productivity and improve the well-being of its citizens.

The study found that a shocking 93% of mental health problems among corporate employees are linked to workplace stress. This statistic highlights the immense impact that work environments can have on individuals' psychological well-being. Positive mental health allows people to thrive, cope with adversity, and flourish, while poor mental health is characterized by anxiety, depression, unproductive stress, and lower job satisfaction, leading to decreased performance and incivility.

Leaders play a crucial role in shaping the mental health of their subordinates. Destructive leadership styles can exacerbate poor mental health, while positive behaviors such as fair task assignment, timely feedback, and adequate resource provision can improve it. By helping employees understand the purpose of their work and connecting it to a larger meaning,leaders canalso foster subjective well-being.

To promote better mental health, experts recommend that leaders prioritize trust-building through consistent communication and actions, add challenge to work to reduce boredom, encourage norms of civility, and normalize conversations about mental health struggles. Providing mental health interventions as part of employee benefits packages is also crucial.

At an organizational level, celebrating emotional maturity, prioritizing well-being, and encouraging breaks to tend to emotional needs are key strategies for creating a mentally healthy work environment. Neharika Vohra, professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, emphasizes the importance of leaders' emotional intelligence in shaping emotion regulation, empathy, and acceptance of social relationships among team members.

The Deloitte study's findings come at a time when anxiety levels among Americans are on the rise. A recent American Psychiatric Association poll found that 43% of respondents feel more anxious in 2024 compared to the previous year, with concerns about the economy, upcoming elections, gun violence, and access to mental health care topping the list of contributing factors.

Despite the challenges, there are encouraging signs of progress. The majority of Americans now recognize the negative impacts of untreated mental health issues on families and the economy. Stigma surrounding mental health is also decreasing compared to a decade ago. As Dr. Saul Levin, APA CEO and Medical Director, notes, "Over the past ten years, we've grown more comfortable talking about mental health, and that's absolutely key to helping us through the current crisis."

Key Takeaways

  • $14 billion is lost annually in the US due to poor mental health.
  • 93% of mental health problems among corporate employees are linked to workplace stress.
  • Leaders play a crucial role in shaping employees' mental health through positive behaviors.
  • Trust-building, challenge, and normalizing mental health conversations can promote better mental health.
  • Recognizing the importance of mental health is increasing, with stigma decreasing over the past decade.