Why Employers Need to Discuss Mental Illness in the Workplace

Do you know 1 out of 5 American adults suffers from a mental health condition? Chances are some of your employees also struggle with mental illness.

Many employees are afraid to discuss their mental health because of fear. The fear of losing their jobs, of changing workplace relationships, of employers judging them. This leads to mental problems being unrecognized, undiagnosed, and untreated.

Without proper approach and care, mental illness is detrimental to both your employees and your business. But this isn’t the only reason why employers need to talk about mental illness in the workplace. There are more.

Let’s find out.

Increase happiness, productivity, and work quality

Mental illness may interfere a lot with an employee’s life and work. Some experience panic attacks when talking in front of other people. Some avoid communicating completely.

A workplace where mental illness is judged will cause more stress for employees. They can bring stress home, put it out on their loved ones, and their conditions may become worse.

Showing support for these employees will strengthen the bond and trust between them and your company. If you’re willing to listen and help, employees feel cared for, resulting in more happiness and increased productivity. If employees trust you, they’re more likely to perform better and deliver better work quality.

Clear the assumptions about mental illness

It’s clear that many people still hold negative assumptions about those with mental illness. Struggling with mental disorders and being called irresponsible, lazy, weak, etc. make people feel lonely. They’re fighting their own battles, alone, with no help. This can lead to extremely serious issues such as depression, self-harm, or suicide.

Employees spend a large amount of time at work, and it hurts if their colleagues can’t accept them for who they are. Employers need to discuss and inform about mental health properly. People need to know what their coworkers are going through and help them fight mental issues.

Build a culture of acceptance at work

A culture of acceptance in the workplace means employees are accepted for who they are. Everyone can talk about their mental issues, even employers. Everyone can voice their concerns openly without being afraid of any labeling.

People with mental health conditions easily feel excluded and isolated. And they have the same need to seek a sense of belonging, just like everyone else. If everyone’s open about their mental issues, these people can find their tribes—mental health peers—and receive the empathy and support they truly need.

To build a culture like this, you can integrate small activities gradually, from sharing books, holding discussions, and giving presentations about mental health to encouraging seeking therapy, etc. Design business strategies that nurture your employees’ potential, while helping them cope with mental health disorders.

Attract job-seekers and improve employee retention

Many top talents are diagnosed with mental disorders. Huge companies and organizations aren’t often fond of this. They can reject the best people simply because candidates show they’re too emotional. That’s why you can still attract the best people by creating a place that accepts and supports mental conditions.

If your company has a reputation for providing support for mental issues, employees are more likely to stay. Because everyone has the need to be accepted, to express themselves openly, and to feel cared for.

Help build a society of freedom

Wherever we are, we all need the freedom to show who we truly are, what we’re going through, and seek help without the fear of being isolated, judged, or fired.

Talking about mental health in the workplace makes society a better and free place to live in. Of course, the battle to remove the stigma attached to mental illness is long and difficult. But if each of us fights a little, we’re changing the world gradually, in a better way.


Mental issues don’t just lower employees’ morale and productivity, they drive your employees and money away from your business.

If you haven’t asked yourself why you should care about discussing mental illness in the workplace, you need to do it now.

Managing a business includes caring for the people who work in it. And if you care for them genuinely, you’re receiving and creating more benefits than you thought.

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