The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines mental health as “emotional, psychological, and social well-being.” The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that 20% of adults in the US experience some form of mental illness, and 5% suffer from a severe case. Find more details and statistics.

mental illness and workplace mental health first aidMany workplaces now include mental health support in their benefits packages as proactive businesses embrace a more holistic view of their roles as employers. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming the norm, with companies expected to provide comprehensive health and wellness services beyond the basic medical benefits package. Businesses are increasingly embracing employee mental health as a corporate social responsibility and are providing support services such as Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) as part of benefits and wellness plans. MHFA is an international education program proven to be effective in training individuals to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Learn more about Mental Health First Aid.

Signs of Mental Illness

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of all of the following symptoms, they may be suffering from mental illness:

  • Feeling sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Trying to harm one’s self, end one’s life, or making plans to do so
  • Engaging in severe risky behaviors
  • Sudden overwhelming fear, racing heart, difficulty breathing
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Seeing/hearing/believing things that are not real
  • Using excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs
  • Drastic mood swings, personality changes, or habits
  • Having difficulty concentrating or sitting still
  • Intense worries and fears

(Source: The National Alliance on Mental Illness)

To address concerns about mental illness in you or someone you care about, please consult with a health care professional.

Learn how your workplace can access a comprehensive suite of wellness services, including stress management and Mental Health First Aid, by visiting Wellness Coaches. Additional resources are available at the NAMI HelpLine by calling 800-950-6264.