A mental health crisis among America’s children might not seem like a workplace issue at first glance.
But if your workplace is typical, about 40% of your colleagues are working parents of children under age 18. And as any working parent knows, when your child is not well, the stress and worry of home and family life often come into work with you.
About 1 in 6 children in the U.S. have a mental health issue, such as anxiety, depression, or attention and behavior disorders. If left untreated, the consequences of these issues can range from academic or social struggles to substance abuse or self-harm.
For parents, the health and well-being of a child can affect their own health and well-being – and that can impact their job performance. A 2021 survey of more than 3,000 working parents in the U.S. found:
That last point is an important one to Karie Batzler, director of behavioral health at Capital Blue Cross.
“We all know issues at home don’t just switch off once we step into the workplace, but we often see a reluctance to talk about how that stress can carry over,” Batzler says. “Employers can play an important role in starting a dialogue around mental wellness, whether it impacts employees or their family members, and employers can help connect their employees to resources that can help.”
Capital Blue Cross, for example, offers resources for both its own employees and its members, including:
Capital also supports its employees through an employee assistance program and volunteer-led employee resource groups (ERGs) that foster dialogue and a sense of connection among employees who share common interests, backgrounds, or demographic characteristics.
No matter the path forward for your company, it can all begin with a simple conversation, according to Batzler.
“Often times, it can go a long way just to tell someone, ‘I’m sorry to hear about what you’re dealing with and please let me know how I can help,’” Batzler said. “Once a dialogue begins, it can pave the way toward seeking help and finding resources to support the employee and their family.”
(For more health and wellness news and information that can benefit your business and employees, visit thinkcapitalbluecross.com.)