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Effect of Mental Health Challenges on the Productivity of Workers

Effect of Mental Health Challenges on the Productivity of Workers

In the past few years, there has been a rise in mental health issues worldwide. Specifically, people have suffered from panic attacks, anger, anxiety issues and increased worry about their lifestyles. This literature review seeks to determine how these challenges hinder the production of the workforce.

Barriers and challenges to the mental health management

Mohamed Ibrahim et al. (2020) report that a growing number of people suffer from mental health issues, but it is hard for them to obtain the help they need. The authors state that hesitancy to receive mental health care is the issue. The problem is not as if there are no mental health institutions that cater to the workers' needs. The authors carried out a study among 377 members of the population from the United Arab Emirates. The people were drawn from Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. About 60% of the respondents reported that they felt shame was the most significant hindrance why they did not try or attempt to seek mental health care services. However, those who sought the care reported positive health care outcomes. 78% of the respondents upped their confidence levels, 73% reported a significant increase in personal and family relationships. In contrast, many those who did not seek mental health services reported harboring suicidal thoughts.

Linkages between Productivity and Mental health issues

There is a direct relationship between mental health and the overall health and wellbeing of the workers. Workers' productivity is an issue of concentration, energy levels and motivation. When employees concentrate on their work, they have high energy levels, and they have found a reason to work, they will have a high level of productivity.

Effects of Mental health challenges on the organization

According to Burton (2008), the economic costs to the organization increase as a result of absenteeism associated with mental health issues. The depressive conditions lead to reduced concentration levels amongst employees. As a result, the employees' quality of work is seriously affected. Burton states that a binding effect of these mental health challenges on the organization is presentism, where the workers are at their jobs, but their productivity levels have dipped. There is also a decrease in the organization's ability to retain high performing workers.

Mental health challenges and toxic work environment

A headache to other employees

The increased absenteeism due to mental health problems causes a headache to the rest of the employees. Howell (2020) reports that the additional workload resulting from the absent worker does not do any favor to the other employees. Covering in for someone not at work reduces the overall productivity of employees, and it can cause resentment among the workers. Since the business leaders are more concerned about profitability, there are high chances that the absent worker is not replaced as fast.

Health Conditions Associated with Mental health challenges of workers

According to Rajgopal (2010), the mental health challenges result from worker burnout and back pain

Worker burnout

Rajgopal states that they get drained when the employees are given too much work. Extreme tiredness leads to a reduction in energy levels. A drop in energy levels makes the employee try to concentrate on the job, but it is not easy. The issue of worker burnout has a psychological effect on the worker because it leads to poor decision making and the possibility of accidents, specifically in situations where the employee is working in very high-risk environments.

Back pain

Lower back pain leads to a high level of emotional and physical distress. The employees often think that this can lead to disability, and the worry can exacerbate the mental health challenges. Other factors that increase back pain challenges are the comorbidity factors and the absence of physical exercises (Wong et al., 2019).


Many employees fail to seek mental health care services due to shame. Those who do not seek may even harbour suicidal thoughts. Mental health care improves the interpersonal relationships of people. According to the authors, mental health challenges affect other employees, lead to organizational losses, and the difficulties of allocating other workers the duties of this employee facing these challenges. Health care issues such as stress, burnout etc., are linked to mental health challenges.


Burton, W. N., Schultz, A. B., Chen, C., & Edington, D. W. (2008). The association of worker productivity and mental health: a literature review. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 1(2), 78–94.

Howell, D.-R. (2020, June 29). The Impact of Mental health on employees’ productivity. Psychreg.

Mohamed Ibrahim, O. H., Ibrahim, R. M., Al-Tameemi, N. K., & Riley, K. (2020). Challenges associated with mental health management: Barriers and consequences. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal, 28(8).

Rajgopal, T. (2010). Mental wellbeing at the workplace. Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 14(3), 63.

Wong, J. J., Côté, P., Tricco, A. C., & Rosella, L. C. (2019). Examining the effects of low back pain and mental health symptoms on healthcare utilization and costs: a protocol for a population-based cohort study. BMJ Open, 9(9), e031749.

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