How Mental Health Awareness Impacts Corporate Culture and Profits

Author Headshot Written by Liz McDermott

The topic of mental health in the workplace has been a concern with a lot of discussion in recent years. Alarming statistics reveal that a portion of the U.S. workforce is grappling with conditions like anxiety and depression. In the last year, half of American adults under the age of 30 and one-third of adults overall reported anxiety. Additionally, 25% of adults under 30 are currently experiencing depression. The survey further highlighted that 77% of large employers witnessed an uptick in mental health issues among their workforce in 2023. 

The statistics underscore the critical impact of mental health on business vitality and individual performance. How are employers dealing with hiring a workforce experiencing anxiety and depression? Besides social media, what is causing these alarming statistics amongst Gen-Z? In her latest book, Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up, Abigail Shrier argues that the problem isn’t the kids—it’s the mental health experts. The mental health industry has transformed the way we teach, treat, discipline, and even talk. Employers have to pass on incredible talent, missing the ability to take risks to execute.  

This article explores how organizations directly address fundamental aspects of employee welfare to influence work performance. This practical approach to mental health mitigates stigma and leverages collective psychosocial well-being to drive tangible benefits in engagement, loyalty, and profitability.

how mental health impacts profits

The Impact of Mental Health on Employee Performance

Organizations consider mental health awareness part of corporate culture by providing a supportive work environment. They aim to align strategic business objectives, like enhancing productivity, fostering collaboration, and significantly reducing absenteeism.

Let’s understand how addressing mental health at work helps drive employee productivity.

Mental Health Stigma and Help-Seeking Behavior

Reduction in Negative Perceptions: Addressing mental health issues openly in the workplace can reduce negative perceptions and encourage employees to seek help, improving productivity and job satisfaction.

Increased Treatment Utilization: Reducing stigma around mental health can lead to more employees seeking treatment, resulting in improved job satisfaction, effectiveness, and cost savings for the organization.

Vubiz’s online course, Reducing Mental Health Stigma in the Workplace, offers 20 minutes of employee training to help you address mental health awareness at work.

Direct Impact of Mental Health on Employee Productivity

Enhanced Work Engagement: According to Forbes, employees with positive mental health are more committed to their work, with 63% reporting increased commitment and 80% feeling more energized.

Reduced Absenteeism and Presenteeism: Absenteeism refers to when employees miss work due to mental health issues, while presenteeism occurs when employees show up to work despite experiencing mental health concerns. Both can lead to decreased productivity and engagement. Addressing mental health can lower absenteeism and presenteeism, thereby protecting the company's bottom line by maintaining high productivity.

Innovative Behavior and Engagement: Positive mental health fosters innovative behavior and work engagement, which are crucial mediators in improving job performance and employee lifetime value.

Organizational Benefits of Supporting Employee Mental Health

Improved Overall Productivity: A study in Australia found that workplaces prioritizing mental health improved productivity, workforce participation, and worker health outcomes.

Encouragement of Help-Seeking Behavior: A supportive environment encourages help-seeking behavior, essential for early intervention and management of mental health issues.

Challenges and Impact of Poor Mental Health

Increased Organizational Costs: Research shows that failing to address mental health issues can lead to increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and higher healthcare costs, impacting the organization's profitability.

Impact on Physical Health: Poor mental health can lead to a range of physical illnesses, such as hypertension and cardiovascular conditions, further increasing healthcare costs and reducing employee efficiency.

Mental Health Improvement Strategies

Implementation of Mental Health Programs: Effective mental health programs can improve employee health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and increase productivity and job satisfaction.

Focus on Preventative Measures: Work-related mental health conditions are preventable, and proactive measures can significantly protect and promote mental health in the workplace.

By integrating mental health awareness and support into the corporate culture, businesses not only enhance the well-being of their employees but also secure a competitive edge through increased productivity and innovation.


The Role of Leadership in Employee Mental Well-being

Leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping the mental well-being of employees, significantly impacting workplace culture and productivity. Understanding the profound effect managers have, it is crucial that they prioritize mental health, foster a culture of connection, and adopt sustainable working methods.

Discover ideas from the following recommendations.

Key Leadership Responsibilities

Modeling Healthy Behaviors: Leaders should manage their stress levels and avoid overloading, which preserves their mental health and sets a positive example for their teams.

Creating an Empathetic Workplace: By regularly checking in on employees' well-being and showing genuine concern, leaders can create an environment where employees feel valued and supported.

Encouraging Professional Growth: Providing opportunities for learning and development helps fulfill employees' career aspirations and contributes to their overall well-being.

Promoting Autonomy: Allowing employees a say in their work schedules and tasks can enhance their sense of control and satisfaction at work.

Impact of Leadership on Mental Health

Direct Influence: Studies show that 69% of employees view their manager's behavior as a critical factor affecting their mental health, underscoring the need for thoughtful leadership.

Visibility and Accessibility: Approachable and responsive leaders foster a supportive atmosphere that can significantly reduce workplace stress.

Leadership Strategies for Enhancing Mental Well-being

Recognition and Support: Leaders should be vigilant about signs of mental health issues among employees, such as increased absences or decreased productivity, and offer appropriate support.

Flexible Work Conditions: Flexible working conditions can improve employee health and increase job satisfaction.

Proactive Stress Management: By proactively addressing work-related stress, leaders can prevent mental health issues from escalating and maintain a healthy team dynamic.

Leadership Styles and Mental Health

Dolphin Model: Emphasizing a leadership style that balances compassion with practical solutions to navigate conflict better, improving employee and organizational outcomes.

Cultural Competency and Communication: Training in cultural competency and effective communication can equip leaders to handle diverse workplace scenarios sensitively, promoting an inclusive environment.

Organizational Commitment to Mental Health

Investment in Training: Providing mental health education demonstrates an organization’s commitment to well-being, fostering a loyal and productive workforce.

Recognition of Best Practices: Awards like the Mattingly Award encourage organizations to adopt best practices in mental health, enhancing their reputation and attracting top talent.

Leadership plays a vital role in shaping employees' mental well-being and significantly affects workplace culture and productivity. To prioritize mental health, leaders should model healthy behaviors, create an empathetic workplace, encourage professional growth, promote autonomy, recognize and support employees, and invest in training. By integrating these leadership practices, organizations can improve the mental health of their employees and enhance their overall productivity and profitability.


Challenges of Integrating Mental Health Awareness

Legal and Privacy Concerns

Statutory and Regulatory Compliance: Wellness programs must comply with legal standards. Employers must navigate complex legal frameworks that govern employee health and privacy.

Privacy Assurance: Transparency in using and protecting employee data in wellness programs helps alleviate privacy concerns, and fosters trust and participation.

Financial and Resource Constraints

Budget Limitations: Small and medium-sized enterprises often face significant financial challenges in implementing comprehensive mental health programs, which can deter the initiation of such initiatives.

Resource Allocation: Managers frequently express concerns about allocating time and resources to mental health interventions, which they fear might detract from productivity.

Organizational Resistance

Management Buy-In: It is essential to convince leadership of the long-term benefits of mental health programs. Demonstrating a clear return on investment can help secure their commitment.

Employee Skepticism: Workers may resist participating in mental health programs due to stigma or doubts about such interventions. Inclusive and well-communicated programs can help overcome these barriers.

Strategic Implementation

Define Clear Objectives: Establishing specific, measurable goals for wellness programs is vital for accountability, clarity, and focus.

Continuous Feedback and Adaptation: Regularly soliciting employee feedback and adapting programs based on this input can significantly enhance the effectiveness and acceptance of wellness initiatives.

Address Chronic Conditions

Inclusivity in Program Design: Ensure broad-based support and effectiveness by designing programs that cater to the needs of all employees, including those with chronic conditions or disabilities.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Success Metrics: Develop mechanisms for reporting on the effectiveness of mental health initiatives with key metrics for reduced absenteeism and improved employee morale–key to sustaining support.



More businesses are fostering a workplace environment that values mental health to enhance individual well-being and deliver a strategic asset that drives productivity, innovation, and profitability. By implementing wellness programs, training, and support for neurodivergent employees, more empathetic corporate cultures are being created, a testament to the profound need to mitigate mental health’s impact on a company’s success.

Will prioritizing mental health training at work contribute to their bottom line? The numbers will soon show the long-term impact on employee performance and reduced absenteeism. Leadership plays a pivotal role in workplace transformation by modeling healthy behaviors, creating a supportive work atmosphere, and promoting open conversations about mental health.

Companies looking to educate their staff on mental health topics can turn to resources like Vubiz's Mental Health Awareness online training course, an easy solution for communicating strategic business objectives to drive productivity. The commitment to mental health awareness and training represents not just an investment in employee well-being but a strategic move towards sustainable business growth and profitability, underlining the importance of mental health as both a societal and a business imperative.