NAILBA ID Trends Resource Guide 2020-21 | Page 27

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Nearly one half of employees ( 48 %) reported their anxiety level has increased since COVID .
Cultivating an inclusive workspace
Learn the facts about mental health conditions . Even though one in five United States adults experiences some form of mental illness each year , misconceptions linger about those who live with a mental illness .
Use respectful and first-person language to talk about mental health conditions , such as “ people with mental illness ” instead of “ the mentally ill .”
Offer support if you think someone is having trouble . NAMI also had these suggestions specifically for employers :
Offer mental health education for managers and employees , which should include information about mental health conditions , potential warning signs , and how to protect privacy .
Provide access to employee assistance programs that help employees handle stress and emotional pressures .
Communicate often about mental health benefits so that employees know what resources are available to them and their families .
Reducing stigma in the workplace
The Hartford announced in mid-October that the aim of their partnership with NAMI , a grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness , is to help employers and employees understand how to reduce stigma in the workplace and encourage those with mental health conditions to seek support . “ The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the mental health challenges facing the workforce and cannot be ignored by employers ,” said The Hartford ’ s Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift . “ Together with NAMI , we hope to further a national dialogue about mental health and inspire leaders to embrace a stigma-free culture within their companies and communities .”
The Hartford ’ s 2020 Future of Benefits Study : Mental Health in the Workplace , which surveyed United States workers and human resource professionals in early March and mid-June of this year , revealed that most employers ( 59 %) believe mental health conditions , such as anxiety and depression , are a significant workplace issue . While 64 % of employers feel prepared to address their employees ’ mental health conditions , more than half of workers ( 56 %) said they have privacy concerns about sharing mental health information with their employer / co-workers .
Mental health conditions are among the top five reasons for workers in the United States to file a short-term disability claim , according to The Hartford ’ s disability claims data . Mental illness can prolong a person ’ s recovery from an injury or disease , and a person diagnosed with a primary injury or illness , along with the presence of psychological factors such as anxiety or depression , can take two to three times longer to recover than someone with similar injuries or illness and no additional psychological factors .
“ We are in the business of underwriting human achievement — helping thousands of workers each year return to active , productive lives after an injury or illness ,” Mr . Swift said . “ We are committed to eradicating stigma that threatens human achievement so that more people can prevail .”
You , too , could be doing your employer clients and their employees a real service by bringing impactful real world studies like this to their attention .
Disability Trends continued on page 28