Viewpoints from Claire Letourneau
I’m just going to come out and say it… It’s okay to go to therapy – AND it helps! For too long, the stigma of seeing a therapist has prevented the delivery of much-needed care. People are concerned about what their family, friends, and employer will think of them. Thankfully, the tide has turned; individuals and businesses alike now see the importance of addressing mental health in the same manner as physical health – without feelings of shame.
The significant costs and the impact on workplace productivity – caused by issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse – cannot be denied.
According to a World Health Organization report, “in the United States, estimates for national spending on depression alone are $30 [billion to] $40 billion, with an estimated 200 million days lost from work each year.”
If someone breaks a leg, we don’t see that person as weak or unreliable for getting a cast and crutches to aid the healing process.
So why would we view someone going through a divorce as anything but responsible for getting the mental health care that’s vital to emotional healing? If the broken leg is tended to properly from the beginning, it reduces the likelihood of additional costs in the future. The same goes for mental health.
The need for these services goes beyond acute issues like divorce. Mental health is a daily concern for many Americans regardless of socioeconomic status, age, gender or profession.
Certain occupations are worse-off than others, however. “A study of mental health issues among U.S. lawyers released last year found…20.6% of those surveyed were heavy drinkers and 28% experienced symptoms of depression.” Statistics for the general population came in at a fraction of that, with 8% or less for depression and alcohol abuse at 15.4%. Some progressive law firms are bringing psychologists onsite to help with the problem – to a “rousing success.”
Whatever happens in Washington, consider maintaining mental health services as an essential benefit to your plan. Protect your workforce and your bottom line – reject mental health stigma so you can encourage personal growth among your employees and increase the success of your business.
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EPIC offers these opinions for general information only. EPIC does not intend this material to be, nor may any person receiving this information construe or rely on this material as, tax or legal advice. The matters addressed in this article and any related discussions or correspondence should be reviewed and discussed with legal counsel prior to acting or relying on these materials.
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Senior Account Executive, Wellness – New York, NY