This article explains a lot of the reasons why we should stop ignoring mental health as a workplace issue. If this pandemic, and movement for racial justice should remind all of us, work doesn’t happen in a vacuum apart from the rest of our lives, and world events.
Yet, it also references mental health as a diversity issue, which makes a lot of sense, even though we know mental health issues impact groups across all racial and other divides.
Garen does a good job of explaining the disparate impacts mental health issues can have for different racial groups. We know, for example, that the lack of minority therapists can be a barrier to someone seeking a therapist who has experienced the world in the same way. So, if we blow off mental health, and aren’t really prepared to deal with it, we run the risk of running off folks who are struggling, and that might also have a disparate impact.
But to me, it’s even simpler than that. If you want a diverse workforce, you need to broaden the pool of people who you attract, and support.
Not being aware, and doing what you can to support the mental health of your employees will do the exact opposite of that. It will slice off a significant percentage of the population who you will not attract and retain.
It’s really that simple. If you have a much smaller pool of people to hire, you will not be as diverse as a company who can attract people from a larger pool.
The raw number of people who have had mental health issues, even before this year, is huge. Later this year and next year, it;s likely to be even huger.
That’s a lot of very skilled, talented people who you won’t be able to attract if you ignore mental health.
It’s difficult to be diverse when your pool is so much smaller to start with.