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News Release
62% of missed workdays can be attributed to mental health conditions.
62% of missed workdays can be attributed to mental health conditions.
Missed work due to mental illness: Interviews with Dr. Keith Bachman (Photo) - 05/22/23

PORTLAND, Ore. (May 22, 2023): Research shows that mental disorders, particularly depression, have a huge, negative impact on workplace productivity in America — greater than physical disorders. A report from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) says that 62% of missed workdays can be attributed to mental health conditions, and that untreated depression can cost an employer more than $9,400 per worker every time they miss work, including lost productivity.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and physicians at Kaiser Permanente are helping creating awareness about what employers can do to support employee mental health. Millions of Americans live with a mental health condition, but most are not getting the treatment they need. One of the reasons is stigma — negative stereotypes about mental illness that persist both in and out of the workplace. In fact, stigma is one of the main reasons why people delay treatment — and many never get help at all.

“Creating a stigma-free workplace is key to tackling the mental health crisis,” said Keith Bachman, MD, medical director for the Kaiser Permanente Northwest Workforce Health team. “To help more people get the care they need, it’s essential to understand stigma and take action to overcome it. Employers have an opportunity to address stigma head-on — to make sure employees feel supported, and to help set the tone for a productive and mentally healthy workforce.”

Currently, fewer than 1 in 3 employees who struggle with a mental health condition get the help they need. It’s important to encourage more people to get help, because treatment works — reducing symptoms for 70% and 90% of those with mental health conditions. Plus, when employees start to feel better about their mental health, they also feel better about their jobs and are more engaged at work. In fact, more than 80% of employees who receive treatment report improved job satisfaction.

With access to high-quality care and support, employees can — and do — get better, and nearly 70% of people with a mental health condition or substance use disorder make a full recovery.

Interviews available:
Keith Bachman, MD, medical director for Kaiser Permanente Northwest Workforce Health team, is available for Zoom/phone interviews on Tuesday, May 23 from 9:30 a.m.-noon. Contact Karen Vitt to schedule.

Dr. Bachman is prepared to discuss:

  • How untreated mental health conditions are responsible for 62% of missed work days, costing companies billions of dollars each year.
  • The benefits of a stigma-free workplace, and how prioritizing employees’ mental health and emotional well-being creates a more productive and invested workforce.
  • What Kaiser Permanente is doing to support employee mental health and well-being.
  • Ways to improve employee mental health, and how employers can help break down stigma and change workplace culture.

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.6 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.

For more information, please visit: about.kaiserpermanente.org

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