Loneliness is more deadly than obesity and more common than most people think. The bottom line is this: untreated mental illness in the workplace is expensive. It costs as much as $1,600 per employee, per year and in terms of depression specifically, those who meet the criteria for the disease but receive no treatment for it use two to four times the healthcare resources of their colleagues. The result is higher rates of absenteeism and presenteeism, decreased productivity, more workplace accidents, higher disability costs, higher overall medical costs and ultimately, lower profits.
Of course, it’s not as if employers— specifically, Benefits and HR leaders— haven’t tried a variety of workplace programs to address the high rates of mental health issues. From EAPs to telehealth solutions to educational content and digital programs, employers have spent the money and taken the time to make big changes to improve mental health rates, always with the best of intentions.