More Links in News & Events

Mental Health Care And The American Worker: Conference to Examine the Business Case for Mental Health Care

Studies have shown a link between employees with depressive symptoms and decreased job performance, but companies increasingly are scrutinizing their mental health care benefits. As a result, the mental health community must do more to show companies how a lack of mental health care coverage can impact their bottom line.

Representatives from corporations and mental health professionals will gather at a conference June 19-20 in Atlanta convened by the American Psychiatric Association and The Carter Center to look at the link between quality mental health care and its impact on worker productivity, disability, absenteeism, employee turnover and the corporate bottom line.

"We need to learn more about the concerns business has about mental health problems in the workplace, and get a sense of what mental health clinicians can do to help business provide effective psychiatric care for employees," said Richard K. Harding, M.D., APA President. "We also need to learn what additional research needs to be done to develop effective and appropriate mental health services."

Presenters at "The Business of Mental Health Care" will discuss the presence of mental disorders and substance abuse in the workplace, examine such problems as absenteeism, disability, and reduced productivity, review the obstacles to effective treatment, and look at successful corporate initiatives that are providing quality mental health care.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who will speak at the conference, has long been interested in mental health coverage offered by private insurers. The Carter Center Mental Health Program has addressed this issue in national symposia, including two on mental health in health care reform and one on mental health and mental illness in the workplace.

"The mental health community and the business community have a common goal: healthy employees and healthy companies," Mrs. Carter said. "This meeting will allow both these communities to develop concrete ways to achieve this goal."

Last month the American Journal of Psychiatry reported on a longitudinal study of 6,000 employees in three corporations that found absenteeism due to health problems was twice as high for employees with depressive symptoms, compared to those without depression. The study also revealed the likelihood of decreased performance on the job is seven times higher for depressed employees.

"By focusing on some of the most vexing workplace mental health issues such as depression, we hope to provide concrete and useful information, tools and approaches that corporations can use in meeting the mental health needs of their employees," Dr. Harding said.

The American Psychiatric Association is the national medical specialty society representing over 38,000 physicians who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter to promote peace and health worldwide. It is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; it seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health. The Carter Center Mental Health Program advances mental health promotion, mental illness prevention, and early intervention in children and their families.

News media interested in covering the conference at The Carter Center should contact John Blamphin, American Psychiatric Association, 202-682-6138 or or Kay Torrance, The Carter Center, 404-420-5129 by Friday, June 15.


Donate Now

Sign Up For Email

Please sign up below for important news about the work of The Carter Center and special event invitations.

Please leave this field empty
Now, we invite you to Get Involved
Back To Top