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Dollars invested in mental health are dollars well spent

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Wichita is only as strong as our weakest link. The number of million-dollar homes in this city means nothing if the number of people experiencing homelessness is growing at the same rate. It is only by lifting those around us that our city gets better. And that’s difficult to do if the costs associated with untreated mental illness are not addressed.

On average, every person employed in Wichita costs their employer $7,000 each year in lost productivity. People with untreated mental illness take 31 days off of work each year, lose another 28 days to presenteeism, and account for 40% of all job turnover. And a recent survey from Deloitte showed that 81% of C-suite executives believe that mental health is more important than career advancement, causing many of them to actively seek a change from their current position.

But there is good news. Studies have demonstrated that dollars invested in mental health create a four-fold return on investment for the companies willing to get involved. Adding a mental health component to your employee assistance program is great, but it only works as well as people’s willingness to use that program. Consider an active education series on mental health by setting up a lunch-and-learn, or by inviting a mental health organization to present at your next staff meeting. In addition, many non-profit providers are losing funding right now, so consider talking to those organizations directly to see if there is a program that lines up well with your philanthropic goals.

However you get involved, please remember: The success of anyone in Wichita means the success of everyone in Wichita.

Links to mental health resources are at MHANational.org.

Eric Litwiller has served the south central Kansas community through his work at Mental Health Association since September of 2017. As Director of Development and Communications, he is charged with seeking the private investment required to raise awareness of the scope of mental health concerns throughout the region in an effort to eliminate the unfair stigma associated with mental illness.