The Impact of Mental Health on Employee Productivity, Absenteeism, and Turnover

Mental health impacts every aspect of a person’s life. From personal to professional, the effects can be felt all around. Workplaces find themselves suffering from absenteeism and decreased productivity, as well as a loss of employees due to the mental health epidemic we are currently facing. 

In fact, organizations around the world are beginning to recognize the significant impact that mental health has on the workplace. In this blog post, we explore the relationship between mental health and these crucial aspects of the workplace, shedding light on the importance of prioritizing mental health support within organizations.

Why Mental Health Matters

In essence, mental health matters because it is the cornerstone of our well-being and the key to unlocking our full potential. Society benefits when mental health is prioritized. Employees, and people in general, with good mental health, are more productive, engaged, and innovative. They are better equipped to contribute to their communities and excel in their professional endeavors. 

This is particularly important when it comes to organizations that have an impact on our world. For example, poor employee mental health might have a waterfall effect when it comes to new technologies and advancements in medicine. It is not just hourly or salaried employees that feel the effects of poor mental health in their career; doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other valuable positions can be greatly impacted as well.

Mental Health and Employee Productivity

Decreased Concentration and Focus

Mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and stress can impact an employee's ability to concentrate and maintain focus. This lack of concentration hinders productivity, leading to lower work output and a decrease in overall efficiency. Undiagnosed ADHD is another way that employees might suffer from a lack of focus overall. Currently, it is anticipated that millions of adults are suffering from undiagnosed ADHD. While this is a disorder of its own, it has the power to impact mental health greatly. 

Reduced Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills

Dealing with mental health challenges can hamper an employee's creative thinking and problem-solving abilities. When employees are overwhelmed by stress or struggling with their mental well-being, their cognitive flexibility and innovation may suffer, limiting their capacity to generate fresh ideas and find effective solutions to workplace challenges.

A Decline in Motivation and Engagement

Mental health concerns often lead to a decline in motivation and engagement levels among employees. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or burnout can make it difficult for individuals to find meaning and satisfaction in their work. As a result, productivity may suffer as employees become disengaged and detached from their responsibilities.

Mental Health and Absenteeism

Increased Sick Leaves

Issues like this can contribute to a higher rate of absenteeism as individuals may need time off to seek treatment, manage their symptoms, or recover from periods of intense stress. Frequent absences disrupt workflow continuity, impacting team dynamics and productivity in general.


These challenges may lead to presenteeism, where employees come to work despite not being fully present or able to perform optimally. This phenomenon can occur when individuals feel compelled to show up physically but are mentally and emotionally drained. Presenteeism can result in reduced productivity, as employees are not able to put their best foot forward.

Mental Health and Turnover

Increased Attrition Rates

When employees experience persistent mental health difficulties and their well-being is not adequately addressed, they may become more likely to seek alternative employment opportunities. High levels of stress or a lack of support can contribute to employee dissatisfaction and ultimately lead to increased turnover rates within an organization.

Impact on Team Morale

Mental health challenges can have a ripple effect on team dynamics. If employees perceive a lack of support for mental health or witness colleagues struggling without assistance, it can negatively impact team morale and overall job satisfaction. Such an environment can foster a cycle of turnover as employees seek more supportive workplaces.

How To Address Mental Health in the Workplace

In order to best support employees and ensure that the workplace is functioning to the best of its ability, proper supports need to be in place. Inevitably, employees will be faced with challenges in their personal or professional life that will impact their mental health. If they know that they work within an environment that is going to be supportive, they will likely be more forthcoming about their issues. As a result, leaders and managers can help support the employee through their hard times.
  • Build A Supportive Culture: Create a culture that values and prioritizes mental health. Promote open communication and provide resources for employees to seek help or support. Even just having someone to chat with regarding mental health struggles can make all the difference. Leaders should offer such opportunities to support their employees.
  • Provide Targeted Programs: Offer employee assistance programs, mental health counseling services, and workshops on stress management, resilience, and work-life balance. Encourage employees to take advantage of these resources.
  • Destigmatize Mental Health Days: The term mental health day was originally coined as an excuse to take a day off work for self-care, but now it has become a genuine need for many. Employees should be given the chance to use a sick or personal day for their mental health, just as they would for their physical health. Arguably, mental health is even more important than our physical health. Without it, we are not able to function properly in the workplace. 
  • Offer Remote Work Arrangements: Allowing employees to work from home during a period of distress or difficulty should be a consideration for all organizations that can allow it. While there are many positions that require in-person work, those that can allow for this flexibility should do so. This can help reduce stress levels and improve mental well-being.
  • Focus On Education: Conduct mental health awareness training for managers and supervisors to enable them to identify signs of mental health issues and provide appropriate support to their team members.

Recognizing and addressing the impact of mental health on employee productivity, absenteeism, and turnover is necessary in order to keep the workplace high functioning and successful. Mental health challenges can infiltrate every aspect of a person’s life, and with so much time being spent in the workplace, it is natural to feel the effects here. When employees know that they are supported and armed with the right tools to overcome their difficulties, they are given the best chance to thrive at work.

We Can Help!

Online Treatment Programs provides Teletherapy Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs allowing participants to receive intensive therapy with our licensed therapists and psychiatrists without having to leave home.  If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, panic attacks, PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other mental health or addiction issues, we can help.  To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our teletherapy programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

MHThrive provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit our website to learn more.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any severe mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Online Treatment Programs

16 August, 2023

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