Safety Training

HR Compliance

Search By Industry

Course Packages

About Us


Contact Us

March 17, 2023

How does mental health impact workplace safety?

The COVID-19 pandemic required employees across many industries to adjust to what was referred to as “the new normal” — a phrase often paired with “unprecedented times.” These phrases became embedded into our conversations with colleagues as workplaces radically and permanently shifted. Many companies required on-site employees to stay distanced when possible, or eliminated in-person interactions entirely among other new policies to ensure the health and safety of their employees. 

And although many of these changes did ensure the physical well-being of their employees, one of the side effects of the sweeping changes was dwindling mental health. Stress and anxiety increased as a result of isolation and uncertainty. In 2022, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report delivered some rather grim news: employee stress hit an all-time high with 44% of workers reporting daily stress. Another key finding was that only 33% of employees said they were “thriving in their overall wellbeing” when prior to the pandemic, data showed engagement and wellbeing trending positively. 

Historically, stigmas regarding mental illness have quieted workplace conversations surrounding mental health, but the increased levels of stress, anxiety, and worker burnout have left many companies no choice but to prioritize the mental well-being of their staff. 

We know that mental health impacts our colleagues, but the consequences often extend beyond the individual and have truly problematic impacts for organizations as a whole. 

So, what is mental health?

Mental health refers to a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being, which is why in many cases it’s difficult to define and diagnose mental illness. For decades, mental illness, like religion and politics, has been a taboo topic — reserved only for our most intimate connections and trusted medical professionals. Even the phrase “mental illness” can be met with skepticism, as it covers conditions that range from invisible to extreme, and be both terminal and temporary. 

While we know poor mental health impacts an individuals’ work performance, many employees still fear addressing their concerns may not be taken seriously, or worse, used against them in punitive measures. 

Workplaces have started to extend insurance coverage to include benefits such as therapy and other employee assistance programs, but it’s not enough considering the negative impact of unhappy staff. 

Why should employers care?

It’s not uncommon to hear “Don’t bring your personal life to work” from peers and superiors alike. But, requiring managers to be more empathetic just because is more than just good for optics — investing in training and resources is risk mitigation. Especially since for many, poor mental health isn’t just a bad day, but a pattern of behaviors that could make their work performance sloppy at best, or deadly in the most extreme cases. The economic impact of mental disorders is also alarming. The total loss is estimated at 16.3 trillion worldwide between the years of 2011 and 2030 – which, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is higher than that of other major diseases, cancer, and diabetes. 

See training on positivity in the workplace

How can mental health affect the workforce?

  1. Decreased Focus and Concentration

Anxiety and depression often cause difficulty in decision-making, problem-solving, time management, and task completion.

  1. Increased Risk of Substance Abuse

The occasional happy hour with peers or glass of wine with dinner is a common and revered part of many people’s days. A reward for a hard day’s work. While none of us want to police our friends’ and colleagues’ behavior, many people turn to substances as a coping mechanism, which can lead to impaired judgment and decision-making. 

  1. Increased Absenteeism

The repeated absence of a critical team member usually means splitting the difference among the rest of the team, leaving understaffed teams more vulnerable due to longer working hours and additional tasking. Absent employees may also miss critical safety training, leading to unsafe practices when they return to work.

  1. Decreased Productivity and Efficiency

It is difficult for anyone to have the same output every day. Most of us experience the ebb and flow of energy. Prolonged stress and anxiety can lead to an average of lower productivity, causing mistakes, delays, and rework. 

  1. Increased Workplace Conflicts

Visible stress can cause interpersonal relationship issues that may lead to larger personnel conflicts. Conflicts can create distractions, increase stress levels, and create a tense work environment.

  1. Increased Risk of Workplace Violence

Employees experiencing mental health issues may become agitated, aggressive, or paranoid, leading to unsafe behavior, including physical violence.

Is it the employer’s responsibility to address these issues?

Beyond the need for compassion, all of these issues have one thing in common: they are both costly and negatively impact the safety of the workplace, making organizations vulnerable to expensive and fatal mistakes. 

What can employers do?

  1. Create a Safe and Supportive Work Environment

Employers should prioritize a safe and supportive work environment by implementing policies and procedures that promote mental health — these can include a zero-tolerance policy for workplace bullying and harassment, offering mental health resources and support, and encouraging open communication and transparency.

  1. Offer Mental Health Resources

Many employers opt-in to employee assistance programs (EAPs) which are usually offered as a part of a total benefits package and can also extend to spouses and other dependents. EAPs are offered as low or no-cost services that assist employees with medical needs like counseling or addiction recovery as well as other issues that may affect mental health, such as finding child or elder care, financial counseling, coaching, and more. Find out more information about EAPs here

  1. Encourage Open Communication

Employers are required by law to offer reasonable accommodations to employees without penalty, which include mental disabilities, but this doesn’t guarantee that every workplace will be a supportive environment for people experiencing mental health concerns. Disclosing mental health issues can still feel risky to those affected, but leadership teams can create comfortable work environments by staying curious about the personal needs of their staff, involving all members of the organization in finding solutions, and even disclosing their own struggles as a way to normalize sensitive discussions.

  1. Provide Training on Mental Health Awareness 

Training can serve many functions, like offering awareness, resources, and peer-to-peer support. Training can also serve as a proactive or early intervention tool so that employees feel empowered before there is a serious problem. 

Workplace stress training PowerPoints

What types of training solutions can employers offer?

  1. Mental Health Awareness Training

Mental Health Awareness Training promotes awareness, helps employees recognize signs of issues like anxiety and depression, enables appropriate responses, and reduces stigma for a healthier work environment. 

  1. Stress Management Training

Employers can provide training on stress management to help employees identify the causes of stress and learn effective coping mechanisms. Training can also teach employees how to manage their time effectively, prioritize tasks, and set realistic goals.

  1. Resilience Training

Learning about resilience helps employees learn how to quickly recover from setbacks, develop coping strategies, and maintain a positive attitude. By developing resilience, employees can better handle workplace challenges, which helps reduce the risk of health and safety-related issues. 

  1. Self-Care Strategies Training

Self-care is an essential component of maintaining good mental health and well-being. This type of training can help people develop healthy physical habits, such as getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in physical activity. Self-care can also include setting boundaries, prioritizing their own needs, and avoiding burnout.

  1. Conflict Resolution Training 

Conflict is a common issue in the workplace that can negatively impact employee well-being and create safety hazards. Employees can learn how to communicate effectively, listen actively, and find common ground.

  1. Workplace Bullying and Harassment Training

This training can teach employees how to identify bullying and harassment, report incidents, and take appropriate action.


Employers who do not recognize the need for mental health awareness will be left behind, as supporting employee’s mental well-being is an essential component of company culture. Beyond compassion for your staff, offering valuable mental health resources keeps companies competitive. Creating a culture of trust through increased resources dedicated to mental health, such as:

When these resources are implemented, meaningful and measurable change can occur, including:

These results all contribute to a better bottom line, and the return-on-investment speaks for itself. 

Get professional and robust online training.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a new or current client. We get it, compliance and keeping up with training can be difficult. Fill out our form and get real help. It’s that easy. A dedicated training advisor will help you get the best courses for you and your company. No-hassle, no-pressure.

Related Courses