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You can't buy good health but you can buy good health information. Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School:

Untreated mental health problems may hinder workplace productivity, from the Harvard Mental Health Letter

Mental health problems affect many working people. Yet they often escape notice because these disorders tend to be hidden on the job. Mood symptoms, for example, can masquerade as physical problems such as irritability and sleep disturbances. Efforts to identify and treat mental health problems not only improve employee health, but also increase workplace productivity, reports the February 2010 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

About one in five working-aged Americans experiences symptoms of a mental health disorder in any given month. Depression, anxiety, and addiction problems are among the most common.

Because of the stigma associated with psychiatric disorders, employees may be reluctant to seek treatment—especially in the current economic climate, when they are concerned about losing their jobs. At the same time, managers may want to help but might not know how. As a result, mental health problems in working Americans often go undetected and untreated for years.

Most of the research on the costs and benefits of mental health treatment in the workplace has been done on depression. This work shows that when depression is adequately treated, companies reduce job-related accidents, sick days, and employee turnover, and improve the number of hours worked and employee productivity.

Treating mental health problems in the workplace isn't a quick fix. But over the long term, it is a sound strategy. Money spent on mental health care represents an investment that will pay off—not only in healthier employees, but also for the company’s financial health, notes Dr. Michael Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

Read the full-length article: "Mental health problems in the workplace"

Also in this issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter

  • References for "Experts urge caution in using deep brain stimulation"
  • References for "Vitamins unlikely to revitalize the mind"
  • Resources for employees and companies
  • References for "Mental health problems in the workplace"
  • Mental health problems in the workplace
  • Vitamins unlikely to revitalize the mind
  • Experts urge caution in using deep brain stimulation
  • In Brief: Combined nicotine replacement therapy provides best chance of smoking cessation
  • In Brief: Cognitive behavioral therapy may be an option for treating seasonal affective disorder
  • Questions & answers

More Harvard Health News »

About Harvard Health Publications

Harvard Health Publications publishes four monthly newsletters--Harvard Health Letter, Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Men's Health Watch, and Harvard Heart Letter--as well as more than 50 special health reports and books drawing on the expertise of the 8,000 faculty physicians at Harvard Medical School and its world-famous affiliated hospitals.