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November 26, 2021

10 Reasons Why Your Company Would Benefit From Employee Mental Health Awareness Training

Perhaps you’ve heard that providing some type of an employee mental health program is a good idea for your business. 

Maybe you want to take the first step but you aren’t sure where to begin or maybe you’re in the process of deciding which components you need for an employee assistance program. 

A great place to begin for an employee mental health program and an integral part of an employee assistance program is mental health awareness training for employees! 

What is Mental Health Awareness Training for Employees?

Mental Health Awareness Training is a program for employees to educate, inform, and raise awareness about anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders, how to identify the early signs and symptoms, and where to turn for help. 

So, why is mental health awareness training for employees important and why should you consider instituting this as the beginning of an employee mental health program? 

Here are 10 reasons why! 

Reason #1 : Mental Health Concerns are on the Rise in Malaysia

According to the Malaysian Mental Health Association Mental health concerns in Malaysia are on the rise amidst the global pandemic. 

Even prior to pandemic, mental health conditions often went undetected and Malaysians were likely to try to forge ahead without ever receiving proper treatment- a recipe for compounding stress. 

Add a global pandemic, movement control orders for much of the last eighteen months, and physical and social isolation and we find rising percentages of individuals struggling with stress, depression, and anxiety, according to a 2020 survey by Wong et al. 

If we know that mental health concerns are on the rise, we should assume our employees may be facing the same struggles. Mental health training is the first step to help address these concerns in the workplace.

Reason #2: Services to Address Mental Health are Underutilized 

Services for mental health and stress are greatly underutilized in Malaysia, according to a survey conducted in a study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). 

Individuals may be unaware of the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders and have an unidentified struggle.  

Or very often, Malaysians may still assume that therapy is only for those with severe mental health disorders and not for the individual battling “common” conditions such as anxiety or stress.

Even still, some employees may not know where to access services to help them. 

Regardless of the reason, we know that Malaysians are not receiving the treatment they need to address psychological distress that is inevitably affecting their job performance. 

Mental health awareness training can help individuals in your organization identify mental health concerns and if needed, seek services, such as EAP counseling services, if your organization provides these services. 

Reason #3: Stress Affects Employee Absenteeism

If employees are struggling with stress, particularly if this stress is brought on by their work, they may be more likely to need time off. As we mentioned before, psychological distress is associated with physical symptoms which may lead to additional sick days.

A BMC Public Health study found that mental health, specifically stress, was one of the greatest influences of absenteeism. 

When stress is well managed, however, employees are more likely to be present and engaged in their work. 

Employees may not realize they have unmanaged stress without the awareness brought about by mental health training for employees.

Reason #4: Stress Leads to Greater Workplace Accidents 

Have you ever tried to do a task with something weighing heavily on your mind? This is usually when my keys end up in the freezer and I add salt to the orange juice...

It’s hard for individuals to perform optimally if something else is vying for their mental capacity. Stress from personal lives or the workplace leads to divided attention and reduced concentration. Not only will this impact productivity but it can also lead to a greater number of accidents in the workplace. 

By bringing attention to the effects of stress through mental health awareness training for employees, we can help employees seek early intervention and mitigate the risk of workplace accidents. 

Reason #5: Employee Mental Health Significantly Impacts Productivity

Not only does divided attention due to stress impact the likelihood of a workplace accident, it also lowers productivity. A lack of focus and concentration will negatively impact an employee’s ability to accomplish tasks effectively and efficiently. 

We have already established that stress leads to the need for additional time off. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, employee absence accounts for a 36 percent reduction in productivity. 

Stress from the workplace or stress that employees bring in from their personal lives will have the unintended consequence of reduced productivity whether it be from their absence or from a lack of efficiency while present. 

If employees are aware of how stress affects them, they will be more likely to seek stress management services before their productivity is impacted.

Reason #6: Stress Leads to Increased Medical Cost

Your company is already spending money on medical expenses if you are providing health insurance benefits to your employees. The general way health insurance premiums are calculated is based on average medical care usage. 

If employees are struggling with stress and/or other mental health conditions that in turn are affecting physical health, it is likely that costs of medical insurance are going to continue to increase for your company. 

If you, as the employer, are providing these benefits, that cost will fall to you. The best thing you can do for both the individual and your business is to help address the underlying concerns and mental health awareness training for employees is the first step toward connecting your employees to the services they need.

Reason #7: Wellness and Prevention is Cheaper Than Medical Treatment

By providing awareness of mental health concerns and access or recommendations for stress management and/or EAP counseling services, you could actually prevent the need for employees to use medical benefits for more intense treatment later or the need to pay for an employee’s short-term disability. 

This could be a major money saver! 

Reason #8: Small Issues Are Addressed Before Becoming Major Issues

As is the case with most things, early intervention is always best! Whether it is treating a medical condition before it becomes worse or correcting an issue on the production line in a factory before it stalls productivity, it is always better if you can intervene before the problem is a major issue. 

That is exactly the purpose of mental health awareness training for employees!

By helping employees identify mental health struggles and providing an avenue to EAP counseling services, you can potentially stave off a significant reduction in your business’ productivity. 

Reason #9: Reduced Workplace Conflict

A significant driver of stress in the workplace is conflict between employees and conflict between employees and supervisors. 

When employees are more aware of mental health disorders and sensitive to the potential struggles of their fellow coworkers, workplace conflict is reduced!

Reason #10: Reducing Stress Improves Overall Workplace Environment 

No one wants to work in a stressful environment where employees are barely making it through the day without a breakdown. 

Imagine a workplace where employees enjoy coming to work, are engaged in their tasks, and feel supported by their management… wouldn’t you want to work there?

Mental health awareness training for employees is the first step to bring awareness of mental health disorders and point employees to services that you can also provide through an employee assistance program (EAP) which will help to mitigate the barriers to this type of workplace climate. 

Conclusion

Mental Health Awareness Training is not the only service that your company could benefit from in the realm of Corporate Wellness. 

You can tailor an employee assistance program to your company!

There are a variety of services that can be offered via a corporate wellness program or EAP including the following: 

  • Mental Health Awareness Training
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Counseling for marriage, family, and/or financial struggles
  • Treatment for substance abuse
  • Workplace Conflict Resolution
  • Childcare and Eldercare Navigation
  • Wellness Programs
  • Legal Guidance
  • Emergency Hotline

Your company may only need a few of these services and that’s okay. When contracting with a company, you can typically pick and choose the services your company will need. 

Among the many great services that Solace Wellness can provide for your company, here are a few that make us stand out from the rest:

  • Employees have access to a 24-7 hotline and can begin counseling services within 24 hours. 
  • Solace has affiliations with psychiatrists and can administer mental health assessments.
  • Solace counselors accept referrals for clients for long term counseling sessions. 
  • Solace counselors are multilingual and can provide services in all major languages in Malaysia. 
  • Solace’s referral network of service providers spans across the country and is not limited to just the Klang valley.

The research and statistics don’t lie. 

Mental health concerns are on the rise and are affecting Malaysian workers in all industries, including your employees. In an effort to care for your employees well, improve workplace productivity, and ultimately have a bottom line impact, your action step is to start an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) today and you can begin with mental health awareness training for employees!