Warning: Work negatively impacting Finance’s mental health

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    Now’s a good time to check in on your staffers’ stress levels.

    A disturbing 56.7% of accounting professionals said their workplace has a negative impact on their mental health.

    That’s more than any other profession recently surveyed by Fishbowl.

    With the most hectic time of the year upon us, you want to make sure your staffers are feeling supported.

    So is your office mental-health-friendly?

     Mental health benefits are on the rise, yet eight in 10 workers don’t seek treatment because of the shame and stigma associated with it, say studies.

    California is the first state to create guidelines for employers through One Mind at Work, a nonprofit that offers an online calculator to estimate how much money firms lose by not addressing mental health.

    Sacramento-based Sutter Health is offering an online mental health awareness course for workers. Other firms provide mental health coaches or stress-relieving mobile apps.

    Benefits, HR and individual department supervisors can start simply by encouraging staffers to take mental health days to help them recharge.

    One in 5 suffering

    Nearly a quarter (22%) of workers suffer from a treatable mental health condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

    And a significant amount of these workers are seeking help in all the wrong places. That incorrect treatment is far more costly in the long term for both you and your staffers.

    Treating the wrong thing

    Here’s the problem: The most common mental health issues that take place at work stem from anxiety and depression – and those conditions come with physical symptoms.

    As a result, workers seek help for the physical problems and not the underlying condition.

    That leads to unneeded health services (series of tests, etc.) that ultimately cost far more than proper mental health treatment.

    Of course, that doesn’t even take into account the missed work time and productivity issues that stem from untreated mental health conditions.

    So what can employers do? First, if your company offers a solid employee assistance program (EAP), make sure employees are well aware of the program and what it can do.

    Key: Pitch the EAP as a gateway to a wealth of mental health services.

    2 key focus areas

    To make sure your mental health benefits are as effective as possible, the folks at ERISA Diagnostics Inc. offer these best practices:

    1. Revisit the plan design. Go over the key data – gender, age, job type, etc. – and make sure the benefits make sense for your workforce.

    Also look over past claims data and so you can customize your network of specialists based on preference.

    2. Monitor the results. Your organization should be tracking the effectiveness of your mental health benefits.

    Some questions to ask: What’s the relationship between access to services and employee productivity? Is there a link between increased mental health spending and decreased health issues?

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