Handling Employee Mental Health Issues

Naperville Small Business Law Attorney, workplace violence, mental health plan, school shootings, mental health problems In the last few decades, school shootings and workplace violence have been an almost constant presence in the news, illustrating the significant safety risks that employers cannot ignore. Though the odds of workplace violence occurring are low, almost two million Americans have reported that they were victims of workplace violence.

When employees become physically violent while at their place of employment, mental health issues are often at play. Thus, all employers should take the time and the effort to address employee mental health issues in order to protect their business and their employees from the risks that come with mentally unstable workers.

Employees and Mental Health Issues

In the U.S., one in five adults suffer from some form of mental health issue. Additionally, working age adults are facing more serious, life-threatening mental health issues than previous decades. In fact, during the period of 2000 to 2011, the suicide rate of 55 to 64 year olds rose 41 percent. These mental health problems can have a negative effect on an employee’s work, and it has been estimated that the U.S. economy takes a $23 billion productivity hit due to employee mental health issues. Part of this lost productivity can be attributed to the fact that full-time employees who suffer from depression miss an average of four more days at work per year compared to those employees who do not suffer from mental health issues.

The Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers provide insurance to full-time employees does not require that employers choose health care plans that cover mental health services. Furthermore, the ACA does not require businesses with less than 50 employees to provide health care coverage. However, a small business employer who decides to choose a plan for his or her employees that provides for psychological treatment and other mental health services will help assist employees in dealing with their mental health issues before they become a workplace risk. Though such coverage may not seem like a financially viable option, ensuring that employees have access to mental health services is a prudent investment that could end up saving lives in the long term.

Small businesses looking to add mental health plans should consider Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). EAP’s are employment-based contractual plans that provide a broad assortment of mental health services that address substance abuse, family life issues, and other factors. Even when the EAP cannot adequately address a worker’s mental health issue, the EAP can help employees with locating and securing outside providers who can provide the ongoing treatment required for the employee to deal with his or her mental health issues.

Reach Out to a Naperville Attorney

Do you need assistance from a Naperville small business law attorney? Contact the Gierach Law Firm today. Together we can work to achieve a solution to your problems.