As mentioned in other articles, mental illness and related substance abuse costs employers an estimated $225 billion each year, and one study estimated that workers who meet criteria for depression but are not receiving treatment utilize two to four times the healthcare resources of their peers.
Many studies point to absenteeism and presenteeism as being the biggest costs. In the case of absenteeism, employee might simply not show up for work, show up late, or leave early, using the excuse of going to a meeting or a doctor’s appointment and often just a way to get away from the stressors.
The absenteeism could also be caused by an unwillingness to face yet another day under the same stressors, or simply being tired from too little or too much sleep.
Another major cost is presenteeism - lost productivity by employees suffering from mental illness and especially depression. Their constant battles with their inner demons means they often contribute far less than they should or are capable of. Which can often further increase their anxiety.
A 2015 study found that presenteeism consumes nearly three quarters of all spending on depression treatment in the workplace and resulted in the equivalent of 32 incremental workdays lost.
A 2016 study reported by the National Institutes for Health suggests that the annual cost of presenteeism is highest in the United States, costing more than $5,000 per employee. That compares to costs in South Korea of just $180 per person.
The same study found that costs associated with presenteeism tended to be 5–10 times higher than those associated with absenteeism.
These are just some examples of the many ways mental health issues can impact the entire workforce and business:
- Poor participation and performance.
- Not contributing enough.
- Poor leadership.
- Little appetite for risk taking.
- Lack of creativity, innovation, enthusiasm, ownership.
- Failure to meet goals, objectives, deadlines, and budgets, which can accelerate the cycle.
All this can often lead to increased frustrations amongst customers, team members, and other teams. It can impact and frustrate co-workers, leading to conflict, disruption, and discord. Team members in turn begin to get infected – they start to mentally check out, become less creative, lose direction, enthusiasm, and confidence in their team’s ability and so on.
As a result, co-workers might simply choose to leave, either the team or the company.