Nov 14, 2019

Corporate America opens up on silencing mental health stigma

Illustration of a man sitting at a desk with a dark cloud surrounding his head.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Corporate America is attempting to abolish the "don't ask, don't tell" attitude on mental health between employers and their staff, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Why it matters: 63% of employees diagnosed with a mental illness say they have not disclosed it to their employer, according to a Harris Poll partnership with the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable.

The big picture: Depression is costing the U.S. economy about $210 billion a year, according to the Center for Workplace Mental Health. Employers take on about half that cost, due to employees' missed work and lost productivity.

The impact: Companies Cisco Systems, Lyft, Microsoft and sporting league NBA are either providing more access to health care professionals, free counseling or unspecified "emergency" days off, per Bloomberg.

  • Aaron Harvey, co-founder of ad company Ready Set Rocket, kickstarted a #DearManager social media campaign to give employees a prompt to open up.

The bottom line: Disparities in mental health coverage for ordinary workers will persist unless business leaders step up to improve insurance coverage.

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