A Weary Workforce: Mental Health Costs Trending Upward. Solution? Find Yourself. 

America is mentally drained – and it’s costing the country a fortune.   

One in five adults in the United States has a clinical mental disorder, with anxiety being the most common, according to statistics. Substance use disorders and mood disorders like depression closely follow.  

A report from One Mind at Work reports that for a business with 10,000 employees, nearly 10 percent, or 1,000 workers, suffer from depression.    

How much is it costing them?  

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that employees facing mental distress use, typically, nearly $3,000 more in health care services per year than their colleagues who are not under mental anguish. The cost of days lost averages out to $4,783 per year per employee, and the cost of turnover averages $5,733 per year per employee, according to NSC.  

George Arnold Jr., certified peer recovery mentor and recovery coach at National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, told the Michigan Chronicle previously that the root cause of drug addiction needs to be addressed as 90 percent of people with mental health issues have substance use disorder issues.   

“We can’t treat one without treating the other. They go hand in hand,” he said previously.  

CNBC.com reported that employee mental health costs rise twice as fast as all other medical expenses and yearly costs are increasing twice as fast as all other medical expenses in recent years, according to Aetna Behavioral Health data.  

People with mental health conditions like depression, bipolar disorder or substance use cost employers more money, according to the article.  

“We all have a point at which stress can creep into negatively impacting our overall health and wellness,” said Darcy Gruttadaro, director of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health. “Employers are increasingly recognizing … the importance of taking care of health, well-being and mental health, and also the role stress, isolation, loneliness and some of these other factors can play in overall mental health and well-being.”  

Over the past five years, employers’ behavioral health costs have skyrocketed by over 10 percent annually, in comparison to an annual increase of 5 percent for other medical costs, according to Dr. Mark Friedlander, chief medical officer for Aetna Behavioral Health, in the article.  

“Overall, this is not a bad news story,” Friedlander said. “As things expand on the behavioral health side, there may overall be benefits on the medical cost side.”  

Employers should identify who needs help, according to the article.  

“Mental health has always suffered from stigma and the very substantial problem of access, too,” Levin-Scherz said. “And what I see amongst my clients, who are mostly large employers, is increasing concern about the issue and the increasing desire to offer something.”  

Dr. Corey Yeager, a BIPOC NBA therapist, recently launched a new book helping Black Americans fight anxiety and depression, and told the Michigan Chronicle that his book is a tool to help others.  

How Am I Doing?: 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself” is to help spur conversations that would result in meaningful change in both personal and professional lives.       

“Every strong relationship is rooted in good conversation, and that’s true for your relationship with yourself, too. So, let’s check in: How are you doing?”  

Yeager’s book guides people through a series of reflective questions to help readers gain the self-compassion, personal awareness and healing they seek. It will also help to discover their purpose, honor their story and explore who they want to be.  

Each of the 40 questions is paired with a short, thoughtful reflection from Yeager, along with prompts and self-care strategies to help you look at yourself in the mirror and come into alignment.  

Yeager said that his book originated from his doctoral journey at the University of Minnesota where he wrote his dissertation on how to support African Americans therapeutically.  

“[This is] knowing we have a stigma on engaging therapy,” he said.  

His new book offers 40 questions he uses with his clients to help:   

  • Raise awareness of thoughts and emotions    
  • Build trust with yourself   
  • Consider how past traumas affect life today    
  • Grow a practice of positive self-talk    
  • Let go of stigma and guilt from the past    
  • Develop mental health strategies for what to do in low or anxious moments    
  • Increase confidence and embrace emotions.    

Yeager said the book’s basis of getting to the root of who a person is can go a long way in their own mental health journey.   

“[They] are the only person that knows everything about them,” he said, adding that not knowing oneself fully is a costly price as self-soothing behaviors crop up if left unchecked with the use of drugs and alcohol. “A financial loss may occur in those ways. The solution is really getting more in tune with who we are individually and getting in tune with who we are mentally.”  

He added that there is a distinction between healing and treatment.  

“We always talk about communities, people and individuals need healing – clearly that is important and treatment is important as well,” Yeager said, adding that treatment happens externally while the healing happens from within. No one can heal us, only we can. If we seek to show up in the world as the best version of ourselves that means we have to do some work to discover who we are; how we got to be who we are and what values we hold that are still pertinent values today.”  

For more information or to purchase the book visit doctorcoreyyeager.com or visit amazon.com and search “How Am I Doing?: 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself”.  

Staff Writer Rasha Almulaiki contributed to this report.  



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