Mental wellness in the workplace – a glossary

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines a psychologically healthy workplace as one that focuses health and well-being as well as enhancing performance. The essential component of a psychologically health workplace includes communication, work-life balance, employee involvement, health and safety, employee recognition, employee growth and development, employee well-being, and organization functioning. 
-American Psychological Association

There is no health without mental health.

Mental health is a state of well-being where a person:

  • Understands their own abilities 
  • Can cope with the normal stresses of life 
  • Can work productively and fruitfully, and 
  • Is able to contribute to their own community. 

Any of us can have anxiety or depression or other mental health diagnosis, affecting the way we think about ourselves, relate to others, and interacting with the world around us. 

  • Mental health as a secondary diagnosis

    "Some people may experience symptoms of depression after being diagnosed with a medical illness," according to an article from the National Institute for Mental Health. It's these secondary diagnoses of mental health concerns that can limit an individual's ability to return to health, work and life. 

  • The cost of depression and anxiety

    Each year in the US: 167,000 New Short-Term disability claims occur for depression & anxiety resulting in $1.6 Billion in Disability Payments and 12.7 Million Lost Work Days due to disability leave. Download the full infographic with these and other relevant statistics from the Integrated Benefits Institute.

Mental Health Support Considerations in a Challenging Year

May 2020 @Work, Sun Life Column, “Common Sense Compliance” 
Marjory Robertson, JD, AVP & Senior Counsel; Lisa Jacobus, LICSW, Behavioral Health Consultant 

The ongoing pandemic has generated an increase in employee mental health risks, including anxiety and depression.  

The isolation of working remotely has been challenging for many, particularly parents of preschool and school-age children. In-person work brings fear of exposure, new workplace responsibilities such as screening and sanitizing, and requirements to wear personal protective equipment. Healthcare workers have been uniquely strained due to their roles in treating patients, managing heightened hospital capacities, and rolling out the vaccine.


Employers play a critical role in providing mental health benefits and must be aware of how stress-inducing events impact employees. During the pandemic, workers have faced adjustments to remote work, school and daycare closures, or loss of a coworker or family member to COVID-19. Under the load of these and other stressors, employees may exhibit mental health indicators such as decreased performance, behavioral changes, increased time off, and gaps in attention.


These stressors, and resulting mental health indicators, are harder to detect when employees are working remotely. Managers need training to identify rising employee mental health issues.

Employers can also gauge impact through health risk assessments (HRAs) and reward employees who complete HRAs with lower premiums, reduced deductibles, employer-branded merchandise or other prizes, or contributions to health savings or flexible spending accounts. 


See the full article


  • In a study published by the JAMA Network Open, alcohol consumption among adults increased by 14% from 2019 to 2020. Women, in particular, exhibited a 41% increase in alcohol consumption over a 2019 baseline.

This content is not to be considered legal advice. We recommend that Clients speak with legal counsel as necessary.

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