Colorado West helps businesses make work a better place for employees
Colorado West Regional Mental Health Center wants to help employers take the work out of keeping their workers happy.During Mental Health Month in May, Colorado West has been speaking to companies about its Employee Assistance Program to help reduce absenteeism, boost productivity and improve work quality.”Businesses do care about their employees,” said Susan Ackerman, Colorado West’s EAP director. “It’s twofold: It’s the right thing to do, and it saves employers from having to rehire and retrain.”The National Mental Health Association has reported that more than 90 percent of employees said their mental health and personal problems cross over into their professional lives, and have a direct impact on job performance. Colorado West has 70 EAP contracts with companies that offer confidential, prepaid professional counseling to assist employees with such issues.”It’s not so much the hours people work, but it’s the work environment that can cause so much stress,” Ackerman said. “Workers not only need to work together as a team and get along, but they also have to have good relationships with their supervisors.”Ackerman said many Coloradans struggle with anxiety, depression, marriage and family problems, drug and alcohol abuse, and job-related stress – which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers a workplace hazard.”Depression is probably the one I hear about the most, and stress is the other,” she said. “Depression and alcohol and drug abuse, those are the problems that can create havoc in the workplace. The best leverage is to get help through the workplace.” Ackerman said there are numerous reasons Roaring Fork Valley workers struggle with depression and other mental-health conditions.”In this valley, working families have all the struggles of making the puzzle fit,” she said. “Many workers must commute, and there is also the high cost of living and drug or alcohol abuse.”With the valley’s workforce consisting mostly of males, Ackerman said it can be hard to treat mental-health issues.”Men in general are more reluctant to use mental-health services,” she said. By establishing a mental-health wellness program in the workplace, Ackerman said employers are likely see a return on their investment.”I think most employers want stable workers who are loyal and have been there a long time,” she said. “Productive, well-trained employees are in demand in this valley.”For more information about EAP, contact Susan Ackerman at 945-2241 or firstname.lastname@example.org and visit Colorado West’s Web site at http://www.cwrmhc.org.Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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Garfield County’s unemployment currently sits about 1% below the state average, according to data provided by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.