Productivity Linked to Workplace Emotions, Says New Weill Cornell Book

Making the Most of Emotional Capital in the Workplace

Jan 22, 2003

New York, NY

Love it or hate it, emotional issues are prevalent in the workplace, says a new book by a Weill Cornell mental health expert. And many mental health problems from depression to drug abuse show up at work. Left untreated, these problems cost businesses billions of dollars every year in lost productivity.

The new book, Mental Health and Productivity in the Workplace: A Handbook for Organizations and Clinicians, offers the business world a sophisticated mental health perspective on organizational and occupational concerns, in non-technical language. The book also describes the various forms of workplace problems, including recognition and management of their symptoms, and how to provide cost-effective quality care and prevention.

The book co-edited by Dr. Jeffrey P. Kahn, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and Associate Attending Psychiatrist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center represents the latest scholarship from a panel of expert occupational psychiatrists, offering practical knowledge useful to executives, managers, and human resource personnel, as well as a detailed workplace perspective for clinicians.

Burnout, an abusive boss, office politics, low morale at some point in our careers we've each experienced these situations, said Dr. Kahn. What many don't realize is that these situations are often symptoms of organizational problems that can negatively affect productivity and personal well-being. Too often mental health issues are not seen as relevant to the workplace, or treatable. The best way to ensure a safe and productive work environment is to better recognize mental illness and treat it effectively.

The workplace organization can create a pathological system, culture, and environment that has inherent problems, causing anxiety and other emotional problems. The book, which is co-edited by Dr. Alan M. Langlieb, M.B.A., M.P.H., addresses workplace-specific issues, including workplace ethics, absenteeism, and corporate culture and change; career-specific issues, including executive development and dysfunction, job loss, and office politics; as well as such mental health issues as burnout, depression, substance abuse, violence, and psychosis.

The book also lists the most common barriers for employees seeking treatment and referral, which include:

  • Fears of stigma, effect on employment, and punishment
  • Low expectations for treatment and previous ineffective treatment
  • Self-reliance, time, and money
  • Published in hardcover by Jossey-Bass/Wiley, the book will be released this month. A previous edition of the book was released in 1993.

Dr. Kahn is President of WorkPsych Associates, a mental health consultancy for executives and corporations (; past President of the Academy of Organizational and Occupational Psychiatry; member of the American Psychiatric Association's Committee on Business; and an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and the New York Business Group on Health. He has written extensively for, and spoken to, business, mental health, and lay audiences. His work has been cited frequently in business publications such as Forbes, BusinessWeek, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.