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.
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