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Assessing Mental Health Services for Employees (Editorial)

2 min read

Sometimes all the customers you can handle is not a good thing, even for a new business. Consider what administrator Kevin Burton said of the new 24-bed inpatient behavioral health unit for adults that Unity Health-Jacksonville opened in March: “Since the day we opened, we have had as many patients as our staffing levels would allow. As we have hired more staff, our numbers have steadily increased.”

As Senior Editor Mark Friedman reported last week, mental health treatment was a high priority for Jacksonville community leaders as Unity Health prepared to reopen the hospital that went dark under previous ownership in 2019. “The Air Force Base specifically brought this up over and over again: We need help on the mental health side,” Burton said.

This rush of demand for care too long stigmatized isn’t unique to Jacksonville or to a military population. “There’s always more demand for mental health services than there are appointments available,” said Dr. Laura Dunn, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and director of the Psychiatric Research Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. 

Mental illness is often associated with homelessness, drug abuse and crime, including workplace violence that is all too common. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the factors that contribute to mental illness. One positive development: The stigma of seeking help is beginning to fade.

Business owners and executives, now’s a good time to assess what services are available to your employees and make sure they know their treatment options. They aren’t immune, nor are their families. Neither is your business.

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