MRO Magazine

Mental illness in workplace costs company 14% of profits

Toronto, ON -- Mental Illness will affect every person in the workplace in one way or another, according to a workp...

Health & Safety

October 3, 2007
By MRO Magazine

Toronto, ON — Mental Illness will affect every person in the workplace in one way or another, according to a workplace health services firm, but its still an unspoken and neglected reality for many companies.

The statistics are very clear, said Rod Phillips, president and CEO of Shepellfgi. With four-and-a-half million Canadians experiencing some form of mental illness in their lifetime, its only a remote possibility that you wont be affected either directly or by a friend or family member. Thats why we wanted to give companies five reasons from our own research why companies need to take the stigma off mental illness.

* One in five employees on a team will be adversely affected if their manager or supervisor is struggling with mental illness and does not seek help.

* Mental illness is the leading cause of absenteeism in the workplace — higher than heart condition, diabetes and back problems combined.


* Depression is the leading cause of presenteeism, where employees show up for work but are not engaged in their jobs, affecting their productivity.

* Depression and mental illness cost the Canadian economy $16 billion a year

* Mental illness on average costs a company about 14% of its net annual profits.

You just cant afford to ignore it when your employee is unwell, said Karen Seward, senior vice-president of business development and marketing. But the problem is how we treat people who are unwell.

“Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia — these are illnesses that require support and treatment, just as you would treat any other illness.

“If you have a stigma in the workplace against mental illness, employees will suffer in silence and it will affect your bottom line.

Mental Illness Awareness Week — which runs this week through to Oct. 6 — can be promoted in the workplace in a number of different ways through lunch and learns, managerial training to spot the signs employees may be unwell and corporate e-mails reminding people this week that mental health is just as important as your physical health.

For details, visit