Mental illness is typically known as an invisible illness. However, its impact on the workplace is far from hidden.
The World Health Organization estimates depression and anxiousness problems cost the global economy $1 trillion yearly in lost productivity.
In the USA, a recent report from Happify Health discovered that the mental health of workers reached a five-year low in 2018, with younger staff the hardest hit.
“That is an urgent problem,” says Acacia Parks, chief scientist with Manhattan-based Happify, a digital provider of mental health and wellness instruments. Especially, she adds, as a result of young staff “will have the best impact within the workplace for years to come.”
The prevalence of symptoms of depression among workers ages 18-24 was more than double the general population’s, rising 39 % over five years, according to Happify.
This can be attributed to several elements, says Parks. For one, young adults today face an overload of data and plenty of more career options than in years past, which can be paralyzing for some.
If the worker comes forward with a psychological condition or there’s proof of some situation that might impact the employee’s work, an employer can ask specific questions, including if they’re in a position to perform their essential job functions, he says.
If an employee asks for a special accommodation, for instance, an adjusted work schedule, then an employer can ask for medical documentation to find out what accommodations are necessary through feedback from the physician, says Gutstein. For more on accommodations, go to www.dol.gov.