Tag Archives: mental health

Addressing the mental health of Idaho and U.S. workforce

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates one in five adults experience mental health issues annually. In the workplace, addressing an employee’s mental health can reduce an employer’s long-term health care expenses and improve employee productivity, morale, retention and aid in an employer’s recruitment efforts of qualified employees. With recent studies showing mental health is declining on a national basis, Idaho is taking broad steps toward addressing this issue directly, but also has many complex challenges in front of it.

As of May 2021, Idaho had approximately 150 psychiatrists and 700 psychologists statewide. By 2030, these occupations are expected to increase 20-25% for psychiatrists to around 200 – a national outlook of growth of 10-15% – and decline slightly for psychologists to between 650-675 – national growth outlook up 5-10%, with the most growth in clinical, counseling and school settings.

What is mental health and why does it matter in the workplace?

Mental health is a combination of emotional, psychological and social factors that influence thoughts, feelings and actions. Positive mental health has been shown to increase concentration and memory, reduce anxiety, strengthen personal relationships, result in more rational and clear thinking and improve self-esteem. When a person’s mental health is out of balance or in a state of crisis, the inability to cope with daily stressors can result in depression, anxiety and mood disorders that reduce productivity, engagement, morale and overall well-being in both personal and professional working relationships.

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Treating Mental Illness Takes Resources

Mental illness is a major public health concern. One in six Idahoans has been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration[1] estimates 4.7 percent of Idahoans over age 17 – more than 53,000 – have a serious mental illness, a disorder that causes substantial functional impairment and urgently requires treatment.

The national average is 4 percent. Idaho ranks 10th in the highest share of adults with a serious mental illness based on annual averages from the 2011 and 2012 national surveys. New Jersey had the lowest rate of serious mental illness at 3.1 percent, and West Virginia was highest at 5.5 percent.

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