Importance of Mental Health Awareness in Human Resources

In today’s society, much has progressed relating to areas of employment that include the laws set in place to protect those who work for companies, both large and small. As a human resources professional, mental health topics have definitely made its way into the workplace. In this article, we’ll cover the importance of understanding mental health and how it applies to the professionals working in HR departments.

The Law

For the past three decades, those with mental health issues have been able to receive some help they need while at work. Through the Americans with Disabilities Act, employees with such conditions are accommodated as best as possible. This applies to companies with 15 or more individuals working for them. An exception, however, is in cases where the employer claims that particular accommodations for an employee would be too costly.

Mental Health Disabilities

In the past few years, mental health has been the center of much discussion as it pertains to both politics as well as public health. Changes have been made to legislation to properly address the problems that face millions of Americans. Employees may have serious mental health conditions including, depression, anxiety, phobias, and many other illnesses. Human resource departments, more than ever, are tasked with addressing this problem both ethically as well as legally.


Employees with mental health conditions may have various accommodations given to them by their employers, if possible. This may include working from home, having flexible work hours, working in quiet areas, and even having a service dog. With mental health conditions on the rise, as well as the government’s willingness to continue to make legal changes, companies will need to comply as to provide a humane place of work to foster happy employees.


When employers are unwilling to take measures to assist employees with mental health conditions, lawsuits may ensue. In addition, employees do not want to work for companies or organizations which are known for treating their workers poorly. At the end of the day, understanding the extent to which the law requires to provide accommodation is essential. Nevertheless, it may be worth it to provide the best assistance possible to those in need.

Job Interviews

Usually, employers do not question potential employees regarding their mental health during interviews. This is usually not allowed. However, employers are allowed to ask if any illness may affect their ability to perform work functions. When employees who are capable of performing essential functions request accommodations, their productivity doesn’t necessarily decrease. In many cases, employees with mental illnesses who were given proper accommodations increased in their productivity.


Working in human resources can be complicated. Nevertheless, in many cases, such as providing accommodations for employees, the job can prove to be rewarding. Despite economic issues, it is extremely important to ensure that employees are treated fairly. As a human resource professional, you’ll need to do what’s best for the employee while at the same time considering the company as well as the law they must adhere to.