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Businesses starting to take a good look at mental health

Maybe you or one of your co-workers has taken a sick day and called it a "mental health day." Turns out those type of sick days may actually be good for the bottom line.

Once a taboo subject, employers are starting to take a good look at mental health. Dr. Amanda Sellers, a psychologist based in Allentown, says mental health definitely affects the bottom line. 

Sellers said there is "decreases in productivity, lost time, high staff turnover as a result of mental health issues in the workplace."

According to the CDC, 200 million work days are lost each year to depression at a cost of anywhere from $17 billion to $44 billion. 

"The pace is so fast that people are literally in a sense breaking down," said Tony Ianelli, CEO and president of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

And it seems the business community is taking notice. 

"We're at sort of that recognizing the problem stage," Ianelli said.

According to Mindshare partners' mental health at work 2019 report, 61% of workers said their productivity was affected by their mental health and 37% said their work environment contributed to their symptoms. 

"We got a step up our game relative to exposing businesses to potential solutions," Ianelli said.

Sellers has some ideas.

"First and foremost having flexible scheduling, the ability to telecommute or have some flex time," Sellers said.

" We at the chamber are doing more and more time away," Ianelli said.

Employers can also create employee assistance programs which allows access to mental health professionals. 

It's not all about the bottom line. 

"It is the right thing to do morally, but it is also the right thing to do economically," Ianelli said.

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