Mental health matters and it’s something employers can’t ignore

    Employee mental health has taken on added significance in the workplace in recent years with increased demand for benefits and flexibility. And events like the pandemic and hurricanes serve only to put more strain on a staff, compelling employers to come up with new ways to ease stress and anxiety.

    There are certain diagnoses you can begin to see in times like these, says Dr. Deirdre Barfield, vice president of care management at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. Anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders commonly flare up during stressful times. 

    Many workers became ill or had family members who became ill and died from COVID-19, says Sandy Michelet, human resources director at Sparkhound, an information technology company in Baton Rouge. All of that takes a certain toll. 

    Mental health issues can affect an employee’s productivity and comfort level at work, but addressing problems can sometimes be difficult.

    One large barrier is stigma.

    “When we think about mental health in the workplace,” says Craig Broome, president of Highflyer HR. Broome says employers need to treat mental health as important as physical health, and it starts with a visible commitment from leadership to help end the stigma associated with mental health. 

    Read the full story about how Baton Rouge area companies are tackling this subject from the latest edition of Business Report.