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Wendy Matton

 Tags: Mental Health

Employee wellness has been a popular issue in recent years. An increasing number of companies are implementing programs, changing workplace cultures, and adapting roles and responsibilities in an effort to support the overall physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing of their employees. The focus on mental health, in particular, remains a complex issue.

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Mental Health Issues in the Workplace Are More Prevalent Than You Might Think

Mental health issues in the workplace are more common than you might believe. In fact, half of employees in the GTA and Hamilton area have experienced mental health issues, including but not limited to stress, anxiety, depression, and addiction.

However, there is still a stigma that surrounds mental health. Employees may hide their issues for a number of reasons, including fears that they’ll be judged or shamed by their colleagues or superiors; fear of putting their jobs or upcoming promotions in jeopardy; fear of asking for accommodations; fear of negative impacts to their long-term career goals; and anxiety from admitting to having mental health issues.

You may not think that supporting employee mental wellness is something that you should be focusing on, but the fact is, you may not realize just how important it is and how many of your employees are affected by mental health issues.

Many Consider It to Be the Employer’s Duty

The workplace can be highly stressful. It can be filled with anxiety. It can even lead to depression or addiction. Tight deadlines, bullies, little work-life balance, income inequality, discrimination, big workloads, and many other factors can harm your employees’ mental health.

And employees are now considering supporting employee mental wellness to be the employer’s duty. Creating a safe and healthy work environment, improving work-life balance, and caring for your employees’ mental health through the implementation of programs and wellness strategies is now widely expected.

Avoiding employee mental wellness will hurt your competitiveness in the talent market. Top candidates want to work for companies that care about their needs and their health. And they will, more often than not, choose an employer that supports mental wellness over one that doesn’t. Many would even take a pay cut and fewer perks for better work-life balance. It’s simply that important to employees.

Supporting Employee Mental Wellness Has Positive Business Benefits

Poor mental health has negative impacts on business. Studies show that employees who suffer from high stress are more likely to take sick days. Mental health issues are also the top drivers of short-term disability claims as of late. And, in one study, 82% of employees with mental health issues say that their mental health struggles impact their work, leading to reduced efficiency and reduced productivity. The impact of poor mental health will contribute to almost $17 billion in lost productivity over the next decade. If you do not support employee mental wellness, you will feel the effects of your decision on your bottom line.

It’s clear that it’s crucial to support and promote mental wellness in the workplace. Mentally healthy employees, after all, will be happier, and in turn, this will make them more productive. It can also lead to significant cost savings on benefits premiums, short-term disability claims, and sick days.

Employee mental wellness also impacts loyalty and retention. Employees who know that their workplaces support mental wellness and care about their wellbeing will be more loyal and engaged. They won’t feel the need to move on to other companies that offer wellness programs, and they’ll be happier in your employ. Not only will this improve retention at your company, but supporting mental wellness as a key factor of your corporate culture will also make your brand more attractive to top talent.

Thus, when you lower stress and anxiety in the workplace, improve work-life balance, and promote mental wellbeing, you will benefit from lower absence rates, less presenteeism, and higher employee engagement and loyalty, all of which is good for business.


Wendy Matton

Wendy has nearly 40 years of experience in the financial services sector. She began in banking and moved on to Bay St. trading in fixed income, currency and commodities, to management. The next phase was spent in sales and advisory roles as an independent financial and insurance advisor. She has spent the last 15 years as a consultant in the employee benefits industry. Wendy enjoys going on gal-pal road trips with her daughter visiting theatres and B&Bs across Ontario. When not hosting a “Scuff ‘n’ Scoff” with her hubby and musical friends, her most treasured moments are outdoors, back in the hills of Newfoundland on a ski-doo or on a pristine lake with her dad, in a canoe.
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