01 Oct Mental Health in the Workplace Highlighted at CWS
The state of Texas, as is the country, is in the midst of a mental healthcare treatment crisis, and – not surprisingly – the city of Austin is affected by it. A recent survey by Mental Health America ranked Texas last among all states in their Access To Care Ranking for 2020. According to the study, the access measures include access to insurance, access to treatment, quality and cost of insurance, access to special education, and workforce availability. Moreover, for the past several years, multiple news reports have cited staffing shortages, inadequate funding, and substandard services as key obstacles preventing many Central Texans from receiving effective treatment for a wide range of mental health concerns. These deficiencies in the quality and access to mental health care have huge repercussions on the state’s overall economic health, as it affects workforce performance in deeper and more meaningful ways than companies know.
On a positive note, Austin’s ratio of psychiatrists to residents is better than the average for the state of Texas. However, Austin’s psychiatrists-to-residents ratio is still far below the national average (as a whole, the United States averages 25 psychiatrists per 100,000 people; in the city of Austin, there are 10.5 psychiatrists for every 100,000 residents). Across Texas, the state average is 4.1 psychiatrists per 100,000 Texans, and only three states have a lower number. Still, there are a number of highly effective treatment programs in the Austin area, and the Texas legislature recently passed a bill that provides student loan repayment assistance for members of certain mental health professions who commit to working in parts of Texas that are most in need of their services.
How Mental Health Affects Work
It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans suffer annually from a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety, while 4 in 5 affected or distressed employees don’t seek treatment because of fear and shame. As a result, $17 billion are lost annually in productivity across the US due to unaddressed mental health concerns. Given that commercial growth in the Austin area has exploded over the past 8 years, the opportunity to implement sound mental health strategies into new and existing companies is latent (and urgent).
“By building a community of professionals who deeply care about their workforce and their holistic health, including many pressing mental issues, we are contributing to safe environments for people of all ages and backgrounds.”
This is why CWS is changing the culture of workplace mental health so that both employees and organizations can thrive. Through its events, discussions and varied medical and lifestyle content, the CWS program is dedicated to bringing awareness, education, and tools to a vital workplace to eliminate the stigma of mental health at work. “We are very excited to introduce this program, built on global wellness and business strategy trends, to the Austin marketplace. By building a professional community of people who deeply care about their workforce and their holistic health, including many pressing mental issues, we are contributing to safe environments for people of all ages and backgrounds,” explains CWS Executive Producer Coral Talavera. “It’s a natural desire, as well as a basic need, to feel happy and fulfilled at work; let’s help companies give their employees the opportunity to do so.”
At CWS, company leaders can participate in forums for professionals and connect with other successful peers around workplace mental health topics. CWS contributors and editors also help managers and colleagues to build safe spaces, facilitate hard conversations, and learn tools and strategies to navigate mental health at work. “Boosting productivity, performance-based incentives, stress management and studies on anxiety are all topics that really interest Managers, Directors and even CEOs, but it can be difficult to navigate and implement strategies to address them without guidance. At CWS EXPO we’ll cover these and more, giving companies the confidence to completely transform their outlook on employee wellness,” Talavera adds.
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Marketing and Communications Manager