Individuals in the workplace are struggling with anxiety, depression, addictions, and family crises.

Mental health and addiction problems cost U.S. employers 35 million work days per year, and an average of $1,695 in lost productivity per employee per year.

See also: Disability managers keep focus on mental health

What can you do to help your group benefits clients address that enormous problem?

One possible solution: Offer a mental health first aid course.

State and local laws already require many of your employer clients to hold regular fire safety talks.

Many offer CPR classes and general first aid classes. Employees learn to use pressure to control bleeding, and to try to elevate the legs of people who may be suffering from shock.

Today, employers can take those efforts a step further by offering advice about how to handle situations involving concerns about mental health or addictions.

Encourage group benefits clients to get employees together for a short seminar that teaches the employees how to recognize the signs of emotional distress in colleagues, talk with those colleagues helpfully and, if needed, connect the colleagues with appropriate care.

Employers have been offering seminars like that in more than 20 other countries. I’m interested because my group is working with a major insurer to try to bring that approach to the United States. We’re looking for agents and brokers to help. (The employers can offer the seminars whether they use products from our insurer partner or not.)

Whether you team up with us, or you spread the idea some other idea, why not spread the idea? It’s an easy, inexpensive way to potentially do a great deal of good.

See also: Group LTD vocational rehab: Get it back to work