Woman stressed out Employers are seeking innovative ways to lift up their employees and capitalize on the current climate where not only is it ok to not be ok, but it’s also ok to seek help. (Photo: Rommel Canlas/Shutterstock.com)

One of the biggest barriers to addressing mental health in the workplace in the past has been the stigma attached to mental illness. As a result, many employees struggle and suffer, forgoing care and treatment that could be life-changing and lifesaving. Perhaps the shame and embarrassment was generational. Many of us grew up in an environment where we were told, “suck it up,” or “life isn’t fair.”

While there may be occasions where there’s truth to both of these responses, suggesting that we consistently shut our feelings out or that our emotions are not significant, leads to a generation of people who have been taught from an early age to ignore their feelings and emotions. In fact, nearly one in five U.S. adults experience mental illness in a normal year. When mental health is ignored in the workplace, it can lead to lower engagement. In fact, personal and family health problems have led to productivity losses equivalent to $225.8 billion annually–and that’s before COVID-19.

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