Even if you don’t know it, it’s likely that someone close to you has experienced a mental health issue.
In any given year, 1 in 4 individuals will experience some form of mental illness.
Research shows that around 15% of people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition right now.
The estimated cost to the global economy is $1 trillion per year in lost productivity (that includes sick days, staff turnover and presenteeism — when people are less productive at work due to mental health issues).
Open Mind by @xavierlopex via GIPHY
You might not know it if one of your team (or indeed one of your friends or family members) is struggling with their mental health.
This stuff is exceedingly difficult to talk about, and more than two-thirds of employees worry that if they spoke to HR or management about their mental health problems it could affect their job security.
That’s because mental illness carries such a huge stigma. It’s loaded with stereotypes and prejudice — so it’s no wonder that many people suffering don’t seek out the help they need.
You set the tone for your team culture. By opening up a dialogue about mental health and showing you care, you’ll build a supportive culture where people feel like they can tell it like it is and bring their whole selves to work.
That’s powerful. You can build trust and psychological safety when people feel seen and accepted for who they are — and that trust is essential for a high performing team.
As you’ve seen above, the economic costs of mental illness are clear and well-documented — but few people talk about the more personal cost.
Poor mental health can cause people to stall out, lose confidence in themselves, strain relationships with their loved ones, and even have shorter lifespan. It goes without saying that dealing with a mental illness massively impacts your quality of life.
Issues that aren’t addressed early can spiral into more serious problems, or even a crisis.
But most people address issues too late — if they do so at all. In fact, more than half of mental illnesses go entirely untreated.
According to Dr. Joel Young, professor of psychiatry at Wayne State University School of Medicine, mental illness won’t go away on its own, and the longer it persists, the harder it is to treat.
As a leader, you’re responsible for looking out for your teammates — and that includes their physical and emotional wellbeing.
You’re in a really unique position to spot changes in your people’s behaviour and habits, and yet you’re not so close that you might not spot a slow, gradual change.
In the next card you’ll see how your role is vital to your team’s mental health, and get a snapshot of all the tools you’ll get in this programme to proactively support it.
Mental illness is common and costly — but thanks to the major stigma, it’s hiding in plain sight. You should care about your team’s mental health because a focus on it builds trust and belonging, its cost is huge (on an economic and personal level), addressing it early mitigates risk, and you have a duty of care for your people.
Your Mental Health Workout
Try this workout from Hive Learning's Mental Health Works program. Help your team to openly discuss their mental health.
Fiona Young (she/her) >
Having previously led Learning and Development for 3,000 people at Europe’s leading venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot, Fiona knows a thing or two about how to build high performance culture. As Content Director at Hive Learning, Fiona pioneered the organisation's leading guided content programmes which are designed to turn learning into action. Most recently, Fiona led the inception, development and delivery of Inclusion Works by Hive Learning - the world’s first diversity and inclusion programme focused on turning unconscious bias into conscious action - created from over 1,000 leading sources.