fbpx

30 Useful Facts You Didn’t Know About Mental Health

Mental health and mental illness are commonly misunderstood topics. Even with initiatives from major corporations on increasing mental health awareness (like Starbucks investing millions on employee mental health benefits), there are a lot of information gaps.

There’s also a lot more discourse around mental health. A quick google search will show content from every major publication talking about the importance of mental health. In particular, mental health at work. The working world is shifting and employers are demanding more and more from employees. When that happens, people can be more at risk for mental health challenges.

As the world becomes more aware of mental illnesses and how they affect people, it’s crucial to know the facts. That’s why we’ve compiled 30 meaningful facts you (probably) didn’t know about mental health. How many of these come as a surprise to you?

Feeling overwhelmed is common 

Feeling overwhelmed is common

Fact: 71% of adults reported at least one symptom of stress, such as a headache or feeling overwhelmed or anxious. 

Source: CDC.gov. 

Why it matters: 

While symptoms are not necessarily indicative of illness, the problem is that symptoms of mental illness can still cause many of the same outcomes as mental illness. If nearly three quarters of employees are exhibiting signs of stress at work, such as feeling anxious, chances are they are using more of their mental energy on staying focused and surviving the work day than they otherwise would. That means lower productivity, a shorter fuse, worse temper, and other things that can impact their work quality. 

Employees worry about judgment from their boss 

Employees worry about judgment from their boss

Fact: 34% of employees said they didn’t disclose an anxiety disorder to their employer because they were worried their bosses would think they were lazy and trying to get out of doing work. 

Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). 

Why it matters: 

If someone has a problem that’s stopping them from doing their work, you’d hope they could share it with their boss. But when anxiety is the problem, people fear they will be laughed at, ignored, or assumed to be lazy. It’s a real problem for bosses because they may lose some of their best people. And it’s an issue for the individuals suffering because they don’t get treatment. 

Depression impacts job performance 

Depression impacts job performance

Fact: Depression interferes with a person’s ability to complete physical job tasks about 20% of the time and reduces cognitive performance about 35% of the time. 

Source: The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 

Why it matters: 

Depression has many symptoms, but it’s common to feel exhausted, weak, lethargic, and mentally “fuzzy” a lot of the time. That means you are at risk of mistakes and errors, both in physical work and mental work. When that happens, you are less productive. If you work a job that is demanding physically, you could also be at risk of injuring yourself or others. This is a particularly good statistic for companies to pay attention to, since being able to perform your job is directly correlated with productivity.

Coping mechanisms don’t always help 

Coping mechanisms don't always help

Fact: The most common way employees try to cope with job stress is caffeine (31% of the time), followed by smoking (27% of the time). Exercising more frequently is third (25%) followed by medications (23%) and consuming more alcohol (20%). 

Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). 

Why it matters: 

Out of all the ways people try to cope with job stress, only one (exercising more often) is considered a healthy method. Medications can be healthy and helpful, though, if prescribed by a doctor. The problem is not that people are horrible or wrong, it’s that the other methods, such as caffeine or alcohol, can actually make symptoms of mental illness worse in the long-term.

Depression is costly

Depression is costly

Fact: Depression costs the US economy over $50 billion in absenteeism annually. 

Source: Mental Health America.

Why it matters: 

It can be easy for companies to take a back seat in the mental health conversation. After all, many business leaders believe that mental health and wellness is for time away from work. But mental illness causes billions of dollars in losses to the US economy every year. With numbers like that, it’s important that companies pay attention. Since so few people report their mental illnesses, it’s impossible for companies to know if they are being impacted by these issues or not. 

Anxiety is commonly overlooked 

Anxiety is commonly overlooked

Fact: Anxiety disorders affect 12% of the population, causing mild to severe impairment. 

Source: Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Services. 

Why it matters: 

Anxiety can impact people in a variety of different ways. For some, it’s difficulty getting things done. For others, anxiety may look a bit like depression. Because it can happen differently to different people, it can be difficult to pin down. However, the effects of anxiety are damaging, especially in a work environment. If you’re concerned that you’re dealing with anxiety, talk to someone such as your doctor and ask them what courses of treatment you may have available to you. 

Being depressed isn’t a joke

Being depressed isn't a joke

Fact: Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some point in their lives

Source: Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Services. 

Why it matters: 

Major depression is the kind of depression where you can’t get out of bed in the morning. Where nothing feels good no matter what. Like you have a permanent rain cloud above your head. It’s also linked with thoughts of suicide. So while it’s a fairly low percentage, dealing with major depression is something that can ruin lives and break up companies or families. It’s worth paying attention to no matter who you are. 

Full recovery is possible 

Full recovery is possible

Fact: People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely. 

Source: MentalHealth.gov. 

Why it matters: 

There’s a mistaken assumption that mental illness is permanent. That if you are depressed, you’re going to deal with depression for the rest of your life and treatment is about symptom management only. Luckily, that’s not the case. Like most illnesses, treatment can help you completely recover from mental illnesses you may be dealing with. That’s not to say it can’t happen again, just like people can get the same injury or sickness multiple times. But it’s not a life sentence to always have to deal with mental illness just because you had it once. 

Having depression causes a loss of productivity

Having depression causes a loss of productivity

Fact: The severity of someone’s depression is directly linked to a decline in their productivity. 

Source: National Institutes of Health. 

Why it matters: 

With depression severity being directly linked to productivity, it’s a way to show workplaces how they should care about their employees’ mental health. Since it’s something that works on a scale, it means it can improve consistently. It’s not an on-off switch, but instead smaller wins over time compounding into bigger wins. So a company investing in mental health resources for employees can start to see a return on investment very quickly, as even small improvements can correlate to increases in productivity. 

Issues with mental health have a price tag 

Issues with mental health have a price tag

Fact: The global economy loses $1 trillion annually in lost productivity from employees with mental health issues. 

Source: The World Health Organization. 

Why it matters: 

Depression and other mental illnesses take away bits of people’s productivity. In some cases, it’s severe and noticeable, but in many it’s small. Add that up across everyone dealing with mental illness (and their caregivers) and it becomes a massive impact on the global economy. When people aren’t getting the care they need for mental illness, they are less productive. It’s the same as with any other illness. 

Living with mental illness shortens lifespans

Living with mental illness shortens lifespans

Fact: Mental illness can cut 10 to 20 years from a person’s life expectancy. 

Source: World Psychiatry study by Chesney, Goodwin, and Fazel (2014). 

Why it matters: 

Unfortunately, mental health issues take a long-term toll on people who suffer from them. It’s not just about suicide, though that is a major concern, but also the physical toll on the body from anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. If untreated and left unsupported, people with mental illness may end up living much shorter lifespans than the average life expectancy. 

Bipolar disorder is rare, but damaging 

Bipolar disorder is rare, but damaging

Fact: Approximately 1% of adults will experience bipolar disorder. 

Source: Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Services. 

Why it matters: 

Bipolar disorder is commonly made fun of, since people assume that someone is just “crazy.” But bipolar disorder, which can look like having two personalities and acting like a different person depending on the circumstance, is a very real problem. It can lead to pain and suffering not only for the person dealing with it, but their friends, family, and coworkers. 

If you know someone with bipolar disorder, support them in getting treatment. It will go a long way. 

Mental health issues affect coworker relationships  

Mental health issues affect coworker relationships

Fact: 51% of employees say stress and anxiety impacts their relationship with coworkers. 43% said it impacts their relationship with their superiors in the office. 

Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). 

Why it matters: 

In almost all work environments, employees have to collaborate and work with one another. Even in assembly line businesses, employees need to move parts from one station to the next. So if people dealing with stress and anxiety aren’t able to develop strong coworker relationships (or boss relationships), it can break down the whole organization’s productivity. 

Millions are affected by mental illness symptoms

Millions are affected by mental illness symptoms

Fact: 67% of employees report feeling burnt out some or most of the time. 

Source: Gallup. 

Why it matters: 

Burnout, while not a mental illness, can exhibit many of the same issues as mental illness. While burnout is more environmentally focused and can be addressed quickly, the impact of burnout, which can mimic depression in many ways, could lead to lower productivity and other negative outcomes that are usually caused by mental illness. When this happens, companies are more likely to lose top talent who seek other places to work that won’t burn them out. 

Mental health issues can happen to anyone 

Mental health issues can happen to anyone

Fact: Approximately 20% of individuals will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. 

Source: Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Services. 

Why it matters: 

While 20% does not seem like a very high number, that amounts to more than 1 billion people globally who will experience a mental illness during their lifetimes. Add in the fact that people have families and extended networks of friends and acquaintances, and it’s clear that you will probably know or interact with someone who is dealing with a mental illness at some point during your life. 

Stats like this show the importance of learning more about mental health, since it’s likely going to affect you or someone you know. 

Mental health issues don’t make you bad at work

Mental health issues don't make you bad at work

Fact: People with mental health problems can be just as productive as other employees. 

Source: MentalHealth.gov. 

Why it matters: 

Stigma around mental health is usually one of three things. 

One: people around those suffering from mental illness assume they are incapable of being “normal” and treat them differently. This could lead to that person not getting growth opportunities or other things that everyone else gets. 

Two: the person dealing with mental illness believes it’s all their fault and they can never be as good as everyone else. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Three: people assume that if someone is doing their job well they don’t suffer from mental illness, which is not the case. 

Depression costs time, not just money 

Depression costs time, not just money

Fact: Employees with depression lost the equivalent of 27 work days per year, either from lower productivity or needing to take additional sick days. 

Source: The Harvard Mental Health Letter

Why it matters: 

With discussions around burnout at work and other issues coming to light, companies are encouraging employees to take their vacations to rest and be more productive at work. But if companies don’t care for employee mental health, there’s a bigger risk. So it’s not just about resting, but also not losing out from the lower employee productivity or increased sick days that come with suffering from a mental illness. 

Mental illness can hit early 

Mental illness can hit early

Fact: 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence. 

Source: The Government of Canada. 

Why it matters: 

Adolescence and teen years are the time when you find out a lot about yourself. Unfortunately, you could also develop mental health problems during this time as well. With it being so common that mental health problems start fairly young, it’s important to continually support young people and encourage them to build strength, grit, and resilience through failure, trying again, and eventually succeeding. 

Most people don’t get the treatment they need

Most people don't get the treatment they need

Fact: Only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive needed treatment. 

Source: MentalHealth.gov. 

Why it matters: 

With the facts around treatment and the opportunity to get help, it’s unfortunate that people don’t get the help they need. The important thing about this stat is not to judge people who don’t seek help, but to understand what’s blocking them from seeking – or accessing – help. Then we can focus on addressing those issues, which will in turn hopefully increase the number of people who are getting the care they need. 

The global depression phenomenon

The global depression phenomenon

Fact: Depression affects 264 million people globally. 

Source: The World Health Organization. 

Why it matters:

It’s easy to feel alone when you’re dealing with depression – it’s a common symptom. And when you know someone dealing with depression, it can be tempting to think they are just one of a handful. But the reality is that over 200 million people deal with depression. That’s nearly the population of the United States! There are communities of people all over the world to connect with and learn from. So if you’re dealing with depression, or know someone who is, know that it’s not just you (or them). 

People don’t disclose their mental health concerns to employers 

People don't disclose their mental health concerns to employers

Fact: Only 25% of employees disclosed having an anxiety disorder to their employer. 

Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). 

Why it matters: 

When someone has anxiety, they are concerned about a lot of things. Usually, they are concerned to the absolute maximum – that’s what causes the anxiety response. This can be a big problem in the workplace, since someone with anxiety may react to something in a way they didn’t necessarily mean to, but the reaction can cause damage or problems. So talking about anxiety is one way to get support to move past it. But if people don’t disclose to their employers that they are dealing with it, then they can’t get support. 

People with mental health issues aren’t lazy 

People with mental health issues aren't lazy

Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak. 

Source: MentalHealth.gov. 

Why it matters: 

When someone is suffering from a mental illness, it’s similar to a physical illness in that it forces limitations on you. If you broke your leg, you simply won’t be able to run as quickly as you did before. That’s not you being lazy, but being held back by a physical issue. It’s a similar thing with mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. You aren’t lazy if you can’t get everything done the way you used to. With treatment, though, you can work on getting back on track. 

Personality disorders are often misunderstood 

Personality disorders are often misunderstood

Fact: About 6% to 9% of the population has a personality disorder. 

Source: Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Services. 

Why it matters: 

Personality disorders can show up in multiple different ways and include things like multiple personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and more. This stat shows that, while not overly common, personality disorders do happen to millions of people around the world and should be taken seriously. Many times, these disorders can be fairly mild. Other times, though, they can get severe and negatively impact the individual and others around them. 

Rest is becoming rarer

Rest is becoming rarer

Fact: 33% of workers report regularly working on weekends or holidays. 

Source: SmallBizTrends.com. 

Why it matters: 

When the 8 hour work day (and 5 day work week) came into place, proponents argued that rest was necessary to being productive at work. Study after study proved them right, showing that you can’t be at your peak productivity without rest. So when people work on weekends, they are not resting properly. This leads to more exhaustion at work, which can lead to more mistakes. Ultimately, exhaustion can go down the path towards mental illness. 

There are opportunities for efficiency in healthcare

There are opportunities for efficiency in healthcare

Fact: By combining medical and behavioral health care services, the United States could save $37.6 billion to $67.8 billion a year. 

Source: CDC.gov. 

Why it matters: 

One of the major stigmas associated with mental health is that it’s not the same as physical health. This means that mental health care is usually pushed off into a separate silo of healthcare. It’s often private, more expensive, and less accessible than general physical healthcare. Since mental and physical health are intertwined and can affect each other, there are billions of dollars in savings to be had if the healthcare system looked holistically at the whole person – mind and body. 

Treatment works 

Treatment works

Fact: 80 percent of employees treated for mental health problems report improvements in their job satisfaction and productivity. 

Source: Workplace Mental Health Organization. 

Why it matters: 

Many people don’t seek out help when they are struggling with mental health issues. There could be many reasons, from fear of saying you need help to worries that it won’t actually make a difference. This stat shows that seeking help is worth it, since the majority of people see an improvement from treatment. It’s also good news for employers, since their health insurance dollars spent on mental health are likely to show a good return on investment. 

Work can be a support system

Work can be a support system

Fact: The workplace is an optimal setting to create a culture of health. 

Source: CDC.gov. 

Why it matters: 

Studies show that treatment for mental illness works best if the person has a support system, a consistent environment, and other things to focus on where they can practice what they’ve learned or done in treatment. The workplace is able to provide all of those things by design. You have coworkers or HR for support, work to focus on, and a consistent environment of the office. This means workplaces can be great allies to people with mental illness (and reap the benefits, since people with mental illness can be just as productive as, if not more than, everyone else). 

Work-life balance is a major issue 

Work-life balance is a major issue

Fact: Only 20% of employees agree that companies do enough to promote work-life balance. 

Source: Randstad. 

Why it matters: 

One of the easiest ways for people to take control of their mental illnesses is to seek help, and that requires the time to research options and then take advantage. When people don’t have work-life balance, they aren’t able to do the things in life that they need to in order to be productive at work. In the case of mental illness, this can be particularly bad, since decreased work-life balance can make the symptoms of mental illness worse. 

Working parents have a double whammy 

Working parents have a double whammy

Fact: 92% of working parents say they work excessively to provide for their kids, but 79% report losing quality time with their children due to work obligations. 

Source: Sleep Junkie. 

Why it matters: 

Coping with mental illness at work can be a challenge no matter what, but doing it with a family can be even harder. When working parents take on more work, which can lead to burnout and worse mental illness symptoms, the vast majority say it’s for their families. But then most of them feel like they are losing out on quality time with children. Not only do they lose out on the goodness of family, but they may even end up feeling guilty or like they are bad parents, which isn’t helpful either. 

Young people have mental health challenges, too

Young people have mental health challenges, too

Fact: One in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression. 

Source: MentalHealth.gov. 

Why it matters: 

Because many mental illnesses set their foundations in adolescence, it’s particularly troubling when young people experience significant problems like major depression. That’s a signal that mental health is not just laying a foundation in youth but accelerating. If this goes untreated, it could lead to major issues later in life for those people and their friends, coworkers, and families. 

Signs to look out for include withdrawal from everyday life and feeling like life doesn’t matter. If that’s happening to you or someone you know, look for ways to get help.

Now that you know some facts about mental health, learn some more – the telltale signs of burnout.

The Telltale Signs of Burnout

Burnout at work affects a lot of people – one study by Gallup found that over 60% of employees experience burnout at work. And it isn’t just people feeling burnt out all the time: 40% of people experience burnout occasionally, meaning they may not even know it’s happening. It not only hinders productivity at work but it makes life miserable. The problem, though, is that burnout can be hard to identify. It doesn’t show up with a neon sign or a like a big announcement on a loudspeaker. It creeps up on you, many times appearing as just having a rough day. 

Since identifying burnout at work as early as possible is the best way to avoid its nasty effects, look at the common signs that you may be burning out. Keep reading to see what those signs are and what you can do about them. 

Yawning more than usual

Yawning is a signal that you’re tired, but can also be a signal of burnout at work

Studies show yawning is contagious. When you see someone yawn, you’re more likely to yawn – even if you’re not tired. Yawning is also a natural human thing. We yawn mostly when tired or bored, but it can happen at any time. Yawning all the time, though, could be a signal that you’re burning out. 

When you yawn all the time, it’s your body’s way or showing that it’s tired or disengaged. It is often one of the first things you notice. You may feel fine or be interested in what’s going on, but be yawning all the time. 

If this happens, pay attention. Some people are “yawners” that yawn frequently for a variety of reasons. If you are someone who yawns a lot naturally, a couple extra ones may not be a problem. Further, there are many reasons why someone might be yawning a bit more than usual – it’s often that you’re simply tired. But if you suddenly find yourself yawning way more than usual, keep an eye out for potential burnout at work. 

What to do if you’re yawning way more than usual at work: If you’re suddenly yawning way more than usual, look for ways to get a bit more rest. This doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping more, though that’s a big way to address the problem. But it does mean finding some time to rest throughout the day. 

Some things you could try are:

Meditation

This could simply be closing your eyes and breathing deeply for 3-5 minutes. Some meditations are guided, others use music, and others are totally quiet. You don’t have to follow any form you don’t want to, and even a few minutes a day could help your brain rest and reset. 

Going for a walk

Believe it or not, a bit of physical activity helps you “rest”. It’s called “active rest” and it’s the idea that you do light activity to keep your body and mind moving, but not so much that it’s stressful. A short walk can help you reset your mind. 

Booking time between meetings

Days of back to back meetings can take their toll, leaving you tired all the time. Taking a break between meetings – even 5 minutes – can help your mind reset and get ready for the next conversation. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

×