Change the Stigma!

Did you know that May was  Mental Health Awareness month?  Well, if you didn't, you're not alone.  Mental health rarely receives the kind of media attention granted to physical health conditions such as cancer or diabetes. However, consider these disturbing facts;

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.-43.8 million, or 18.5%-experiences a mental illness in a given year. 
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.
  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
  • Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions.
  • Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier, largely due to treatable medical conditions.
  • Substance use disorders cost the United States an estimated $276 billion a year, with a significant amount of this expense resulting from lost productivity and increased health care spending. 

See more facts at;
See more facts about substance abuse at;
So, it's safe to assume that the vast majority of us will be touched by mental illness at some point in our lifetime, either through our own experiences or through those of our loved ones.  
During Mental Health Awareness Month, the  National Alliance on Mental Illness  (NAMI), a grass roots mental health advocacy group, in partnership with the Hope & Grace Initiative  launched "StigmaFree", a public service announcement aimed at reducing the stigma of mental health, and increasing awareness and access to mental health treatment. Preferred EAP, recognizes that "stigma" often prevents employees from reaching out to us for help even though our services are completely confidential and free for the employee.  Employees frequently express fear about negative repercussions on the job if they seek help for mental health or substance abuse concerns despite the valiant efforts of employers to assure them they won't. Unfortunately, the worry and hesitation to seek help results in months of presenteeism and increased stress until a crisis occurs.  
Our goal at Preferred EAP, is to change the stigma associated with substance abuse and mental health services and connect with employees long before a crisis occurs.

Watch this video from Mental Health America to learn more about the importance of early intervention.