About the Issue
Understanding the issue is an important step in building a mentally healthy workplace.
The Prevalence of Mental Health Conditions in America
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presents a variety of facts and statistics on its “About Mental Health” webpage.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUA) Annual National Report, which found that:
Why Foster a Mental Health-Friendly Workplace?
The Center for Workplace Mental Health makes a strong argument for investing in a mentally healthy workplace and the cost-effectiveness of treatment:
Help your employer determine the impact of mental health conditions on health care, absenteeism and lost productivity.
Types of Mental Health Conditions and Substance Use Disorders
The Job Accommodation Network's (JAN) Mental Health Conditions webpage outlines a number of definitions and descriptions to help explain common mental health conditions and substance use disorders. Employers are encouraged to review this information to better understand these conditions and disorders.
Mental Health Impairments and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
For information about the connection between mental health impairments and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), visit the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) website. According to JAN, the ADA does not have a specific list of medical conditions that qualify as disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a broad definition of disability, which requires that “an individual has a physical or mental impairment that severely limits one or more significant life activities, has a history of such an impairment, or is perceived as having an impairment.” To learn more about determining disability under the ADA, read JAN's guide, "How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).”
This broad definition of disability calls on employers to focus on ensuring employees have what they need to success in their jobs rather than whether or not the person qualifies for protections under the ADA. Regardless of whether a mental health issue or substance use disorder is classified as a disability, it is always advisable for employers to address the mental well-being of their staff and cultivate an inclusive work environment.