Prevention in mental health: why it is important in the workplace

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8 out of 10 Dutch employers say that the mental health of their employees is an important factor of success for the company. This is according to a study by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. However, only 4 out of 10 employers actually take measures that focus on prevention to support the mental health of their employees.

Prevention is better than cure

Often, employers find policy that is focused on mental health important as soon as there is an issue. For example, an absent employee. This is according to experts in the field of mental health. The focus is thus on curing the complaints of mental health issues in the workplace, rather than on preventing these issues by promoting mental health at all times.

An article by Trouw outlines the paradox of prevention: “Precisely when a preventive measure works well, it seems unnecessary. And when a disaster scenario has been avoided, people think it could have been done without it.”

The same study that was mentioned before, suggests that the reason for employers to not invest in mental health of employees is a lack of insight into the effectiveness of the measures and the costs and benefits. Employers also find the financial aspects of mental health promotion a lot more important to consider in times of economic crisis.

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What are the costs of poor mental health in the workplace for employers?

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 17% of the employees had burnout symptoms in 2019. According to HBR, burned-out employees are 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job, 63% more likely to take a sick day, and 23% more likely to visit the emergency room.

Insurance company Zilveren Kruis claims that a burnout costs the employer 60.000 euro on average. All together, the costs of burnout rise to 3.1 billion euros per year for Dutch businesses. In the European Union, the costs of depression for employers were 272 billion euros in 2013.

On the up side, research by WHO shows that every euro invested in mental health results in 4 euros benefit. To conclude, investing in mental health is always worth it. Even in the financial aspects.

Now, how can you start with prevention?

Would you like support in taking care of your employees’ mental health? Inuka’s approach is focused on prevention. We offer all employees a WHO validated self-scan that gives them insight on their mental health. Based on the result of the self-scan, they can book a session with an Inuka coach. With Inuka Coaching, 2 out of 3 coachees go from ‘at risk’ to ‘resilient’ within 4 coaching sessions. Would you like to know more? You can book a virtual coffee with Arjan and Robin, call, or simply send an email!

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