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Rizwan Ahmed CPA explains The Relationship between Mental Health and Productivity in the Workplace

Life stress, depression, in particular, can be harmful to worker well-being. The stress that results from these conditions may affect one’s job performance and limit productivity at work says Rizwan Ahmed CPA. Work loss due to mental health issues is becoming more common in the United States. A study by the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) found that 30 percent of workers with mental illness missed at least eight days of work per year because of their condition, while 15 percent lost 13 or more days.

This study considered only depression, not other mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders or bipolar disorder. All three of these types of illnesses are known to be detrimental to work performance and to result in days missed from work. A study conducted by the National Institute for Mental Health found that individuals with mental illness are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed compared to the general population.

The Relationship between Mental Health and Productivity in the Workplace

It has been proven that depression is a significant factor in presenteeism, where sufferers can still physically show up to work but will have limited productivity while there. Presenteeism is different from absenteeism because employees may not take time away from work, even though they are not productive workers during their shifts. Depression is one of the most common mental health diagnoses among adults in America; it occurs more frequently among women than men and usually appears between ages 20-39 years old (NAMI). One American worker in ten experiences some degree of depression (NAMI).

Rizwan Ahmed CPA says this statistic can attribute to the fact. That women are twice as likely to experience depression in their lifetime as men. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. About 18 percent of Americans aged 18-54 years old have an anxiety disorder in any given year. And 7 percent have a panic disorder in a given year (ADAA). Workplaces that promote mental health and well-being will see improved worker productivity overall.

 Mental Health Association

There is often a negative stigma attached to employees with diagnosed mental illnesses. Such as anxiety or depression due to a lack of understanding concerning these conditions. Many people who suffer from mental illness either feel they need to hide their condition. Or they fear being discriminated against because of the condition. About 40 percent of adults who experienced mental illness first showed symptoms before the age of 14 (NAMI). A workers’ compensation study conducted by Quantum Market Research Group found. That 45 percent of lost work time was due to depression-related episodes (Ibid.). This demonstrates how common it is for patients with depression to take sick leave. And this can be incredibly detrimental not only for the individual but also for the employer.

A number of different workplace initiatives are available in order to help employees. Who suffer from mental illnesses improve their productivity at work explains Rizwan Ahmed CPA. These include early diagnosis and treatment, multifaceted interventions (work hardening), peer support programs, onsite occupational health clinics, case management efforts, or cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) programs. According to Larson, Steiner, and Pohorecky (442). CBT helps employees to make positive changes in their approach to work. By concentrating on changing the negative thoughts that lead to poor job performance. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be an effective workforce intervention for employees with depression or anxiety disorders. Because it aims not only at reducing the symptoms of mental illness. But also at improving overall health and well-being.

There is a growing trend towards promoting good mental wellness in the United States workplace. This movement is “work hardening” and involves providing patients. With an opportunity to return to work gradually following a brief episode of mental illness such as a major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder. “Work hardening” provides a patient with an opportunity. To gradually return to work through a phased-in approach that reduces his or her symptoms, builds up coping skills. And prepares the individual for full-time work. It is based on the belief that providing an opportunity for symptomatic workers. To slowly reintegrate into the workforce can decrease absenteeism rates and increase worker productivity levels. This process only works if employers have access to resources such as occupational health clinics or mental health professionals. Who can help guide them through this process.


The most successful workforce programs are multifaceted interventions. That includes providing early diagnosis and treatment, promoting peer support programs. Offering occupational health services, providing case management efforts, or implementing cognitive behavior therapy says Rizwan Ahmed CPA. Employers must be able to identify employees at risk for mental illness. So they can take proactive steps to improve their wellness levels in the workplace.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have become increasingly popular among employers across America. With over 100 million American workers participating in this type of workplace initiative today (Kendall). It estimates that 70% will experience some form of mental disorder at least once during their lifetime.

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