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SAMHSA News - November/December 2007, Volume 15, Number 6

Employers Honored for Behavioral Health Services

Innovative Programs Reduce Absenteeism, Disability Claims

Five employers recently received top honors at the inaugural Behavioral Health Awards ceremony in Washington, DC. SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) sponsored the program.

These awards honor businesses that create innovative programs to improve employee access to mental health and substance abuse services.

"Research and experience show that behavioral health programs that address prevention and early intervention may help employers reduce absenteeism and disability claims associated with mental health and substance abuse disorders," said A. Kathryn Power, M.Ed., CMHS Director.

The National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit association of 285 large U.S. employers, presented Employer Implementation Awards to Aetna, Cisco Systems, Delta Air Lines, and Pitney Bowes. Cisco Systems and GlaxoSmithKline received Best Practice Awards.

"About 217 million days of work are lost annually due to productivity decline related to mental health and substance abuse disorders, costing U.S. employers $17 billion annually," said Helen Darling, President of the National Business Group on Health.

Federal and Private Partnerships

The inaugural awards were presented at a ceremony during the 2007 Joint Forum on Health, Productivity, and Absence. In her address to attendees, Ms. Power emphasized the importance of partnerships between the Federal and private sectors.

"For CMHS, partnership with the private sector is an essential element of our mission to support the mental health and well-being of all Americans," she said. "We have a mutual goal of having a healthy and productive workforce and successful and stable families."

The goal of the Behavioral Health Awards is to recognize employers that develop, use, and evaluate innovative behavioral health benefits and programs to improve an employer's business operations and the health of beneficiaries.

Emphasizing mental wellness, Ms. Power explained the importance of early intervention as mental health issues emerge for an individual. "After all," she said. "People, not organizations, are our most valuable assets."

Descriptions of the winning programs are available at the National Business Group on Health's Web site at

For more information about mental health, visit SAMHSA's Web site at www.mentalhealth.samhsa.


Workplace Statistics

According to the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 6.6 percent of full-time employed adults and 7.6 percent of part-time employed adults experienced a mental illness in the past year.

In addition, NSDUH recently reported that an annual average of 7.0 percent of full-time workers age 18 to 64 experienced a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year.

A full 14.8 percent of full-time female workers in some occupations experienced an MDE in the last year.

Additional statistics on mental health and substance abuse among American workers are available from SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies. Reports include the following:


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