September 12, 2023

Something to Celebrate: September is National Recovery Month!

Did you know September is National Recovery Month? As a Recovery Friendly Workplace, Chameleon Group would be remiss to pass up this opportunity to highlight something we are so passionate about.

National Recovery Month began in 1989 and, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is a national observance held every September to promote and support: 

Several years ago, we embraced the Recovery Friendly Workplace approach, inspired by some of our employees with attendance issues. One employee we had let go due to absenteeism contacted us a few years later, searching for another opportunity. When we rehired her on a trial basis, she went above and beyond, opening our eyes to this new recruiting and retention avenue.

Being a recovery-friendly employer taught us that focusing not only on recovery but also on the overall mental health of our employees is vital. We’ve since obtained special designations and partnerships to educate our team as we strive to be one of the best places to work in New Hampshire, including: 

To honor National Recovery Month, we’re highlighting why taking your employees’ mental health and well-being seriously benefits everyone involved, along with several recovery-friendly initiatives you can implement.

A man contemplating national recovery month

What is the State of Employees’ Mental Health in the Workplace Today?

With 60% of the world’s population in work, 15% of them live with a mental disorder, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). A lack of effective support can exacerbate mental disorders and mental health conditions, having a ripple effect on an individual’s work, colleagues, and loved ones. 

Eventually, this spreads to their community and society at large. The WHO also reports that depression and anxiety have a global impact of 12 billion working days and $1 trillion in lost productivity annually.

And when it comes to a person’s workplace, there’s a fine line. While work can offer a safe space and mental health support, it can also contribute to deteriorating mental health. Numerous factors can affect employees’ mental health inside and outside of work—as well as the work environment itself—including:

Although mental health programs and policies cost money, time, and energy, neglecting this area can cost your business even more. The American Psychological Association (APA) found that employees facing high stress levels are more prone to absenteeism, disengagement, and commitment.

Employees thinking of fun things to do with coworkers at work

Not only are work-related mental health conditions preventable, but employers can offer methods and resources to promote their employees’ mental well-being. Plus, it allows you to provide hardworking people with a fresh start in their careers.

Implement a Mental Health-Friendly Workplace: Why Caring Makes a Difference

Although National Recovery Month is a great time to rethink how to keep the workplace safe and healthy, you should constantly learn and make these cultural improvements year-round!

Business leaders now have an opportunity to turn this around by fostering a safe, healthy, positive work culture. Over the years, organizations have come to recognize the importance of employee well-being and how to implement programs to support it—especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. This means:

The first on the list above is perhaps the most important. A Paychex survey found that:

Employees should feel they can talk openly to their superiors about their struggles with addiction recovery or other mental health issues. They should not fear judgment or job security. Additionally, managers will experience the best results and strongest relationships with their team members when they act like mentors and help employees solve their challenges.

Making positive mental health a priority in the workplace will improve the lives of your employees by:

A Focus on Employee Wellness Benefits Your Business’ Growth Too!

As you reflect on National Recovery Month, you’re likely already considering how mentally healthy employees will benefit your business—especially when you make it an everyday part of your workplace culture.

Employee Retention

When employees know you genuinely care about their mental health and well-being, they will have a sense of job security and stability. Having clearly defined values and then living them creates this positive culture. 

For example, offering wellness-related benefits like subsidized gym memberships, flexible schedules, in-house classes (e.g., workouts, yoga, or meditation), and counseling/therapy coverage will go a long way. Create a work environment centered around rewards and empathy rather than competition and punishment, and your employees will feel appreciated and satisfied.

Increased Engagement & Performance

Poor mental health can hurt job performance, decision-making, creativity, memory, and critical-thinking skills. It also makes communicating difficult, causing one to overreact, respond negatively, or fail to listen well.

Business growth happening when we learn more about national recovery month

But good mental health does the opposite, ensuring the positive attitude, energy, motivation, and teamwork skills critical to an employee’s best work. Your team members will be more engaged and focused, not distracted by issues or overcome by emotions they’re not equipped to cope with.

Lower Business Costs & Higher ROI

In addition to getting the most from your employees, investing in mental health programs and workplace wellness program ideas reduces absenteeism and presenteeism (i.e., being present at work but not productive).

Businesses spend as much as 300% more on health care when their employees don’t have access to mental health services or general mental health-related perks. However, a study by the University of California, Riverside, found that:

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine also found that programs focusing on enhancing people’s work-life balance decreased organizational costs by $1.68 for every dollar spent.

In other words, employee mental health and wellness programs more than pay for themselves—these business growth strategies also increase your company’s profits! 

Final Thoughts During National Recovery Month

While we began by focusing on our Recovery Friendly Workplace initiatives, our efforts have expanded to become a mental health-friendly employer. Building a transparent work environment has shown us how we all face different mental health challenges, from substance misuse and beyond. And regardless, everyone deserves a safe, accepting workplace.

National Recovery Month is a great time to reassess your policies and practices—but remember to focus on your employees’ well-being regularly, not just once a year. Doing so is crucial to both the health of your people and the growth and success of your business. From mental health and recovery counseling to wellness benefits to fun things to do with coworkers at work, you can develop mentally healthy employees and positive relationships in countless ways.

If you’re interested in working for a mental health-friendly employer, check out our available opportunities, and let’s start a conversation today. Or, contact us if you’re a business leader wanting to learn more about becoming a mental health-friendly workplace. Our team is always happy to share our experiences to help break the stigma and shift perspectives around recovery and mental health.

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