How focusing on employee mental health could relieve the labor shortage

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Many employers have struggled to attract and retain talent in recent months, including in Fort Wayne. As some try to find ways to entice potential employees with wage increases and other prizes, one expert argues employers need to focus more on the mental well-being of their workforce.

“The research is showing during the pandemic and during reintegration, there’s an increase in depression, anxiety, substance abuse, relationship conflict, domestic violence, child abuse and trauma,” said Joyce Marter, a licensed clinical professional counselor.

Marter adds the lack of a focus on mental health can spill into the workplace, where employees could face burnout and other challenges with work-life balance. In recent months, Marter has educated employers to help provide psychological safety for their workforce. More employers are offering mobile mental health apps like Ginger, Calm and Headspace as part of their benefits package.

In the past, supervisors would shy away from asking their employees about any issues relating to their mental health. However, Marter argues that it costs companies more when staff are burnt out. With companies struggling to fill workers, she has seen supervisors be more receptive to discussing mental health with their employees. By teaching supervisors how to be compassionate on these issues, it will break the stigma on mental illness and go a long way towards sustaining a healthy workforce.

“In order for employees to stay productive and well and have good moral, companies need to have realistic expectations,” she said.

Marter will speak at the Grand Wayne Convention Center later this month for Mental Health America of Northeast Indiana’s upcoming Well2Work luncheon. From Aug. 12-13, Marter will address attendees on topics such as breaking the stigma on mental illness, promoting better access to mental health resources, and how employers can foster a stronger mental health culture at work.

Learn more about the luncheon on the MHA of Northeast Indiana website.

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