Training managers to empower their teams to take care of their mental health, while recognizing the signs of mental health disorders, is critically important to workplace well-being, according to a new report, titled Mental Health: A Workforce Crisis. The American Heart Association (AHA) CEO Roundtable commissioned the report, which was conducted by the Association’s Center for Workplace Health Research and Evaluation.

To help employers support their employees, this new report summarizes the evidence on workplace mental health intervention effectiveness and provides insights from a national survey of employee perceptions on how mental health is supported in the workplace. The report also showcases how CEO Roundtable members are cultivating workplace cultures that promote positive mental health while supporting employees who are facing mental health challenges. This call-to-action to address mental health and well-being is anchored in the Association’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.

The Roundtable is a leadership collaborative of 40-plus members who collectively represent more than 10 million employees and their family members to tackle the biggest workforce health challenges. Led by Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, the commissioned report is designed to help combat the alarming prevalence of employees facing poor mental health or mental health disorders across the nation. 

“A supportive and healthy workplace culture starts at the top,” said Nancy Brown, AHA CEO. “As leaders, it’s our responsibility to set the tone and   prioritize mental health on the same level and with the same laser focus as physical health. That means, whether people need prescription glasses or psychological services, they are treated the same and not made to feel ashamed.”

The number of employees who face mental health challenges is rising worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, global rates of depression and anxiety have increased 15 to 20 percent over the past decade and the World Economic Forum projects that mental health disorders will cost $16.3 trillion between 2011 and 2030.

Investing in mental health makes good economic sense. Many evidence-based treatments can save $2-$4 for every dollar invested in prevention and early intervention.{Keyes, 2007 #128} Through the Mental Health: A Workforce Crisis report, the Association and its CEO Roundtable members synthesized research findings to inspire employers to support the mental health of the U.S. workforce.