If you’ve noticed a feeling of depression in the air the past few years, you’re not imagining things, the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia says. And it has the got numbers to back it up.
A foundation report said that as of May of this year, more than half the workforce in Northern Virginia was experiencing some anxiety or depression, with a quarter in the clinical range.
That’s added up to an economic impact of $8 billion a year lost in the region since 2020, according to the report from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis.
According to the report, losses in potential gross domestic product due to mental health broke down to the following:
- $4.2 billion in Fairfax County,
- $1.3 billion in Arlington,
- $1 billion in Loudoun County,
- $600 million in Prince William County,
- $500 million in Alexandria.
The numbers have quadrupled since before the pandemic. Statewide, the losses added up to $22 billion in 2022.
The report said that “helping workers minimize and manage stress — not just from occupational burnout, but from the strain of also being a parent, provider, student, and caregiver — could be key to enhancing the region’s economic competitiveness.”
The report finds that burnout can happen at work or at home, and includes questionnaires that workers can use to help determine whether they — or a colleague — may be suffering from mental health challenges.
How Productivity is Affected
Those problems can result in absenteeism, as well as problems that affect a worker and an entire team even when the worker does show up. Those other issues include procrastination, missing deadlines, social avoidance, and lack of interest.
“All told, for every worker with a mental health need, their team can expect total productivity to decline by 5 to 13 percent, or 2 to 5 hours lost in a 40-hour work week,” the report found.
The report includes guidelines for businesses to help improve workers’ mental health, including correcting for internal policies and procedures that foster burnout, offering mental health literacy to staff and managers, enhancing employee benefits packages, and more.
Specific suggestions include offering benefits to part-time workers or contractors, remote or flexible work arrangements, and diversity, equity and inclusion training.
You can read the report on the community foundation site.
Feature image, stock.adobe.com
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