You may think you know mental health, but this extraordinary fact about mental illness shows that we really don't get the scope of the problem.
Mental illness is something that affects millions if not billions of people worldwide, and we are definitely nowhere close to solving the problem. A total of 44 million Americans have experienced some sort of mental illness, which might include depression, anxiety or a host of other disorders in any given year. And the true number of people who suffer from mental illness will amaze you.
It’s become one of the biggest health crises in the United States, and unlike other health issues, it’s one no one wants to talk about. And perhaps partially because no one wants to talk about, there’s a severe shortage of behavioral health professionals nationwide.
A report from the organization Business in the Community (BITC) finds that mental health is still hidden behind stereotypes and stigma, and people don’t want to make themselves vulnerable by revealing they suffer from a mental health issue. Of 20,000 people that BITC surveys, three out of four said they had had bad mental health at some point in their lives, an astonishing figure.
And it has a real economic impact. The report suggests that the total impact to business is in the range of $31.7 billion per year. And if employers toook simple steps to make mental health more manageable, they could cut about a third of that figure.
“Employers need to recognise the scale of poor mental health in the workplace and take significant steps to reduce the risk of their workplace being a contributor,” BITC added. “Employers have a duty of care to their employees to respond to mental ill health just as they would to a physical illness. Organisations should equip their managers with the tools, support and organisational culture they need to do their job well, which must include managing employees with mental health issues. It makes good business sense to foster a culture of openness that supports employees with a mental health issue to work and stay in work.