Office Managers Lack Training in Providing Mental Health Resources

Dentistry Today


Only 25% of managers in the United States been trained how to refer employees to mental health resources, and more than half of people are unsure of how they would help a colleague who came to them with a mental health issue, according to employee benefit provider Unum.

“The development, implementation, and promotion of mental health strategies has become a top priority for many of today’s employers,” said Michelle Jackson, assistant vice president of market development at Unum. “Creating a workplace culture that promotes mental health resources and encourages employees to take advantage of them helps to destigmatize mental health issues and leads to a happier, more productive workforce.”

Unum says that it used data from human resources professionals, adult workers in the United States, and workers with a diagnosed mental health issue, as well as insight from mental health professionals and industry-leading research organizations in its report, “Strong Minds at Work.” Its survey found that:

• Mental illness is one of the top causes of worker disability in the United States, and 62% of missed work days can be attributed to mental health conditions.
• 55% of employees said their employer did not have, or they were unsure if their employer had, a specific program, initiative, or policy in place to address mental health.
• 76% of employees were confident their managers were properly trained on how to identify employees who may be having a mental health issue, while 16% of HR professionals felt the same.
• 92% of employees thought their employer’s managers were trained on how to refer employees to mental health resources, while 25% of HR professionals said their managers provided that training.
• 42% of employees with a mental health issue have come to work with suicidal feelings.
• 61% of employees feel there is a social stigma in the workplace toward colleagues with mental health issues, and half of them feel that stigma has stayed the same or worsened in the previous five years.

Beyond exploring extensive feedback from employees and HR professionals, the report also offers clear recommendations for employers on how to support employees with mental health issues and how to create a stigma-free workplace culture. Additional resources on mental health, caregiving, and leave management can be found on the Unum website.

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