Anxiety: What You Need to Know for Your Employees

Is anxiety real?

For over 40 million Americans, it’s very real. In fact, it’s the most common mental illness in the United States, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI).

Anxiety can’t be labeled as “negative thinking” or another negative term. Many individuals don’t receive treatment and when the condition is brushed off by colleagues, friends, and employers, it can feel invalidating and cause even more anxiety.

Despite being treatable, only 36.9% of those suffering get treatment. Don’t let myths further fuel the misconceptions around anxiety disorders in your workplace.

Here’s a look at common myths about anxiety both employers and employees should know.

What is Anxiety?

Those with anxiety disorders have intense, excessive, and persistent worry or fear about everyday situations.  For some people, this coincides with regular sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear that peak in minutes, also called panic attacks.

Myths About Anxiety That Employers Should Know

Like other health conditions, anxiety can cause workers to experience physical and emotional issues. It can also have a major impact on individuals and their performance in the workplace.

Before shrugging off what appears to be an “invisible illness”, here’s what employers should know about anxiety and its influence on workers.

Myth: “Anxiety Isn’t a Real Illness”

Anxiety is as real as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States!

Myth: “Medication Is the Only Treatment Option”

Luckily, there are numerous ways anxiety disorders can be treated. The first step is getting a proper diagnosis from a mental health professional as there are many different disorders. Each one is different in how it may respond to treatments. Options for treatment may include counseling, dietary changes, breathing techniques or exercise.

Myth: “Anxiety Doesn’t Impact Work Life”

Because of its powerful ability to cause mental and physical symptoms if left untreated or addressed, anxiety disorders may result in short- or long-term disability. If handled and treated it can absolutely prevent any inability to manage work life!

Help Your Workers with Anxiety

While your employees may not always disclose their anxiety disorders to you, it’s important for them to know they can, if needed. By providing a variety of resources, education and open conversations, you can relieve any concern about openly talking about anxiety in the workplace.

Listen:  Let employees know you have an open door policy to discuss mental health. Let your employees know you are willing to make available accommodations.  This may include flexible working hours, mental health days, deadline extensions, or the ability to meet with a counselor onsite at work through Well365!

Educate:  Learn what you can about anxiety disorders. Share education with your team via email, bulletin boards, and meetings to open the dialogue regarding mental health conditions.

Develop appropriate wellness programs:  How can you strengthen your wellness programs to include mental health? Consider bringing in a mental health professional to review your options and program to better empower your employees. Doing so can make a huge difference. In fact, 37% of employees claim employer-provided mental health resources contribute to a better culture!

By better understanding anxiety and other mental health disorders, you have a leg-up on how it may impact your workers, their productivity, and the overall workplace. Left untreated, anxiety can cause severe issues like insomnia, chronic pain, poor life quality, and even substance abuse issues.

While your job isn’t as a mental health professional, your role does include ensuring your employees are mentally and physically given opportunities to thrive at work. Breaking the stigma and myths about anxiety is just the starting point for a much deeper conversation and change.

Contact Well365 today to learn more about our mental health resources and professional counseling services!