When Mental Health Affects the Workplace

mental health affects the workplace 

Nearly everyone has been touched by mental illness. Even if you don’t have anxiety or depression, it’s likely someone you care about does. Last year, 44 million American adults reported experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder. That’s 18 percent of the U.S. population. Despite the prevalence of mental illness, it’s still steeped in stigma. Many people hide their conditions from employers and are reluctant to seek treatment for fear of being socially excluded, denied a promotion, or getting laid off. As a result, as much as 85 percent of employee mental health disorders go undiagnosed and untreated. This is not only damaging to a person’s quality of life, but it also affects his or her career and productivity at work. 

While the Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees from having to disclose mental illness, revealing your condition could be good for your career. Being open about a mental health disorder entitles you to workplace accommodations, like flexible hours or access to a quiet work area, and may even improve your relationship with your boss. Let’s take a look at how mental health disorders affect the workplace and why seeking mental health treatment can improve your professional and personal wellbeing. 

Major depression

Depression affects roughly six percent of American employees and results in 200 million missed days of work every year. If you are depressed, you may feel irritable or overly emotional, find it difficult to concentrate, have low self-confidence, and be unable to deliver projects on a deadline. If you suffer from major depression, medication and psychotherapy offered through a mental health treatment program can alleviate these symptoms and increase your productivity over time. In the short term, employees who experience severe signs of depression may need to take time off work to attend an inpatient program or reduce their hours in order to recover. 

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the U.S. About 18 percent of American adults suffer from some form of anxiety that causes them to feel excessively worried or fearful in most environments, including the workplace. 

An employee with an anxiety disorder may make excuses not to attend a meeting, make a presentation, or socialize after business hours. At work, anxiety can manifest as panic attacks, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and a sense of dread and fear. Employees with anxiety often need constant reassurance about their job performance. In addition to psychotherapy, mental health treatment for anxiety offers strategies for stress management, effective communication, and coping with triggers.

Bipolar disorder

As a mood disorder, bipolar disorder causes affected individuals to cycle between periods of mania and depression. Based on responses to a World Health Organization (WHO) questionnaire, these highs and lows cause employees to miss the equivalent of 28 work days per year and another 35 days in productivity. 

During mania, an employee may appear to be energetic and creative, but job performance typically suffers. Being disruptive, aggressive, and impulsive can cause problems in the workplace. During the depressive stage, employees may experience the symptoms of major depression detailed above. While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, medications and psychotherapy offered through a mental health treatment program can go a long way towards alleviating the debilitating symptoms of this condition.

If your career is at risk, it’s time to seek mental health treatment

You have every right to keep your mental health disorder private from your employer. However, disclosing your condition at work may come with some unexpected benefits. Not only will you get the mental health treatment you need to reduce stress and improve your job performance, but you’ll also contribute to a culture of acceptance and help break down the stigma associated with mental illness. If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or another mental health disorder, give us a call. 

At Alvarado Parkway Institute, we offer inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment programs to help you achieve stability, manage your symptoms, and reclaim control of your life and career. Start your recovery today by calling Alvarado Parkway Institute at (619) 667-6125.