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Why Resilience Matters More Than Ever

First, some stark and sobering facts:

One in five adults live with a mental illness (National Institute of Mental Health via the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

123 people due by suicide each day (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) and between 1999-2016, 630,000 people died from drug overdose (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

And in terms of your organization’s bottom line? Depression is estimated to cost American businesses $210 billion in medical bills and lost productivity.

So, what can organizations do to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress? 

One potential solution: Resilience Training

I come from a family of Air Force veterans. My father was one of the most resilient men I knew. He always seemed completely unaffected by adversity and thrived in his long service in the military and in the private sector. While I attribute a great deal of that to his infectious positive personality, maybe some is also due to the US Air Force’s investment in resilience training? Beyond the ridiculously hard obstacle courses and problem-solving exercises, the goal is to help service members be proactive and problem-solvers, who can adapt to change. 

And now organizations are looking to Resilience Training to address their companies mental health. Google “Resilience Training” and you can see the abundance of online training programs and even apps designed to develop your team’s resilience. 


What is Resilience Training?

“The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.”

Previous research shows that workplace depression and anxiety can be reduced by coaching employees to increase their resilience, the ability to maintain good mental health despite psychological or physical setbacks. In fact, one study found that over a two-month period, a business-initiated resilience program resulted in a significant reduction in presenteeism (employees working while sick), which led to a company gain of $1,846 per person in terms of greater productivity (Harvard Business Review).  

Changing your organization’s culture starts with leadership:

Ashley V. Whillans, Harvard Business School Assistant Professor, conducted and co-authored a study in the International Journal of Human Resource Management, on Improving Resilience Among Employees High in Depression, Anxiety, and Workplace Distress. 

“Moving the needle on workplace wellbeing may sound simple, but it can be hard to get employees to get involved,” Whillans says. “Managers need to be deliberate and thoughtful about what they offer. It’s not enough to put a ping-pong table in the office and expect your culture to change and your employees to relax at work.”

“Employees aren’t going to ask for time to work on their own wellness. In fact, workers will say they don’t have time. But that’s exactly why workplaces need to help employees take time for themselves,” Whillans says. “Managers have to tell their employees, ‘I really want you to take this one hour every week during your normal work time to do something positive for your own mental well-being.’”

Find out how Nonprofit Resources can help increase your organization’s resilience and cultivate a more flexible and proactive problem-solving mindset. 

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