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Emotional Health

Why Employers Care

Emotional health, characterized as the absence of mental disorders, as well as the presence of positive emotions, is vital for employers to promote because it is foundational to employees' well-being. Evidence shows that mental disorders, like depression and anxiety, lower an individual's overall well-being, as well as take a large toll on an employee's ability to optimally function at work.1,2

It is important to note that just because someone is free from mental disorders does not indicate the presence of positive emotions. Such emotions "are independent dimensions of mental health that can, and should, be fostered."3

What Can Employers Do?

The evidence on mental disorders and well-being underscores the value of proactive initiatives that address early intervention and the prevention of these illnesses, especially because the alleviation of associated symptoms may boost well-being.

Separately, research also points to the value and ability of employers to promote positive emotions among employees. This can be done in a variety of ways, including by encouraging social connectedness among colleagues, as well as promoting an appropriate work-life balance so that employees have adequate time with their loved ones. Additionally, employers can help employees practice specific types of thoughts and behaviors, such as gratitude and optimism, which have been shown to increase happiness. 4


References (show references)

1 Kessler R. The costs of depression. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2012;35(1): 1–14.

2 Diener E, Seligman M. Beyond money toward an economy of well-being. Psychological Science in the Public Interest. 2004;5(1):1-31

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Well-being concepts. http://www.cdc.gov/hrqol/wellbeing.htm#three. Accessed August 11, 2015.

4 Lyubomirsky S, Della Porta M (in press). Boosting happiness, buttressing resilience: Results from cognitive and behavioral interventions. In Reich JW, Zautra AJ, Hall J. (Eds.), Handbook of adult resilience: Concepts, methods, and applications. New York: Guilford Press.

Page last updated: May 2, 2016

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