min read
May 30, 2024

The hidden costs of neglecting mental health in the workplace

Discover the hidden impact of mental health and get strategies for a healthier, more productive workforce.

Employers are facing a healthcare cost crisis. Chronic conditions and pricey drugs like GLP-1s are driving a projected 5.4% to 8.5% increase in 2024 health costs — the largest jump in over a decade. But there's a hidden culprit making things even more expensive: untreated mental health concerns.

By ignoring mental health, employers are missing a key opportunity to control expenses. Mental health struggles like depression and anxiety make chronic diseases harder to manage, driving up costs in the form of more doctor visits, hospital stays, and medication use. 

That makes investing in mental well-being not just good for employees, but smart business too. Read on to learn how by supporting employee mental health, you can reduce healthcare costs, increase productivity, and create a more engaged workforce.

The mental health-healthcare cost connection

Mental and physical health are not separate entities. They are deeply intertwined, influencing each other in a complex dance that significantly impacts overall health outcomes — and your company's finances.

Untreated mental health conditions exacerbate chronic diseases, and chronic diseases in turn worsen mental health. For example, diabetes can double or triple the risk of depression, while individuals with depression are 60% more likely to develop diabetes. A recent study found that employees with chronic conditions and co-occurring depression cost employers more than double compared to those with only chronic conditions.

Mental health's silent toll on business

The costs of neglecting mental health extend far beyond healthcare bills. Absenteeism due to depression alone is estimated to cost US businesses about $44 billion annually. Similarly, absences due to poor sleep cost US businesses roughly $44.6 billion in lost productivity.

Presenteeism, where employees are present but not fully functioning due to mental distress, also drives up costs. Add in increased turnover and reduced productivity, and it's clear that untreated mental health is a significant drain on resources.

A new approach to mental health

Clearly, investing in employee mental health is crucial. Yet choosing the right solution can be overwhelming. With countless options at varying price points, it's difficult to distinguish the truly effective from those that fall short. 

So, what should employers prioritize in a mental health solution to maximize value? Here's what matters most:

  • Proactive and preventative. Look for solutions that go beyond crisis intervention and instead focus on early detection of mental health concerns, proactively building resilience, and preventing issues from escalating.
  • Accessible and engaging. Choose a mental health solution that's easily accessible to all employees, removes the stigma associated with seeking help, and is tailored to the diverse needs of your workforce. Digital platforms can be particularly effective in achieving this.
  • Clinically proven. Ensure the program is based on established, evidence-based practices, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and has a track record of demonstrated results in improving mental health outcomes.
  • Personalized. Prioritize solutions that offer guidance and resources tailored to each individual's unique needs and circumstances, such as care navigation, therapy, or customized digital programs.
  • Comprehensive and scalable. Choose a mental health solution that addresses a broad spectrum of needs, from everyday stress and sleep issues to more serious conditions. Ensure it's easily adaptable to your company's specific size and changing requirements.
  • Data-driven and measurable. A robust solution will provide comprehensive data and analytics to measure its impact, showing tangible improvements in employee well-being and cost savings for your organization.
  • Cost-effective. Look for solutions that offer a clear return on investment for your business. Consider factors like reduced absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover when evaluating mental health programs.

As chronic conditions drive healthcare costs ever higher, businesses need innovative, cost-effective solutions. It's time to invest in proactive mental healthcare that delivers real ROI.

At Big Health, we provide comprehensive, accessible mental healthcare for everyone, anytime, anywhere. Our proven digital programs, combined with personalized support and expert navigation, empower both individuals and organizations to take control of their mental well-being. We break down the barriers of cost, stigma, and inconvenience, tailoring our solutions to the specific needs of your workforce. Our robust data demonstrates the powerful impact our programs have on both health outcomes and cost savings.

By investing in Big Health, you're safeguarding your company's success while supporting your employees. Schedule a demo today to discover how Big Health can transform your workplace.

DOC-3601 Effective May 2024

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During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Sleepio and Daylight are being made available as treatments for insomnia disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), respectively, without a prescription. Sleepio and Daylight have not been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of insomnia disorder and GAD, respectively.

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