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Beyond Bean Counting: Mental Health in the Workplace

Beyond Bean Counting_ Mental Health in the Workplace


How many beans could a bean counter count if a bean counter could count beans? Well, that depends greatly on the state of their mental health at the time. The same goes for any industry, as people can only be as productive and efficient as their mental capacity allows.

The World Health Organization recognizes unemployment as a risk factor for mental health issues, so if you employ any number of people, well done! You are already potentially protecting their mental health.

Mental health is often the forgotten puzzle piece in the overall employee health puzzle. At best, employers may offer mental health coverage in their health benefits package, but is that enough?

There are many additional ways mental health can be supported in the workplace. The good news is that doing so is also good for business through less turnover, increased productivity, and the resulting economic benefits for the company. Win, win!

Taking the next steps in addressing mental health in the workplace first involves understanding what aspects of the workplace can become risk factors for mental health decline. Some of these aspects may be more obvious, such as positions that risk bodily harm and the related stress that goes along with that.

Other aspects may be generally accepted as status quo and more applicable to a variety of jobs like limited input in one’s day-to-day tasks, inadequate communication from management, or an inflexible schedule that interferes with work-life balance.

A period of company reflection involving employee input is a beneficial first step in identifying potential areas of improvement for mental health in your workplace. Once these areas of improvement are identified, they can be addressed at the company level. This should involve working towards minimizing existing risk factors, strengthening positive aspects of the workplace, and developing a plan to address the mental health concerns that do arise among the workforce.

While considering ways to improve mental health in the workplace is crucial, mental health distress is not always preventable. This year it is estimated by the World Health Organization that over 160 million people will struggle with depression alone, so it can be argued that businesses should also be prepared to help employees who do face a mental health crisis.

Much like physical first aid courses, mental health first aid courses are also available. Attendees learn how to identify and appropriately respond to signs of mental illness. These classes can beneficial for employers and employees at every level to gain an understanding of how to handle delicate mental health situations for themselves and for others, including the co-workers they spend so much time with every week.

These mental health first aid courses are offered nationwide and are typically only a day long. To find a course near you, visit

Mental health in the workplace is a vastly broad topic, and this blog is just the very tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to dive in deeper, check out the additional resources below for some great information.

Additional Resources:

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