It shouldn’t come as a surprise: employees have to deal with their mental health on a daily basis. In fact, 63% suffer from a diagnosable condition or illness, with anxiety, depression and addiction ranking at the top.
In our recent Mental Health in the Workplace data study, over 60% of respondents said they were comfortable talking to their coworkers about their mental health conditions, and nearly half (49%) said they talk to their manager about them. Yet, 61% said that their employer doesn’t provide any resources or support for mental health.
Employers have a lot of work to do to change workplace culture to be more supportive of employees’ mental wellbeing. The majority of U.S. workers spend over a third of their lives at work—employers should have a vested interest in their employees’ overall wellbeing, especially when it can impact the bottom line.
Flexible work hours and PTO, mental health coverage, remote work and a conscientious manager ranked highest when we asked how employers support mental health at work. However, when we look at the data, it’s likely that many employees either aren’t aware of their options or don’t feel empowered to take advantage of them. Whether that’s due to workplace policies or personal reservations, the reasoning still ladders up to a major stigma around mental health.
Wellbeing support can’t just focus on people from the shoulders down. Yet, many health plans are designed to do only that. While a majority of respondents (84%) said they were satisfied with their mental health coverage, this conflicts with the stats showing a lack of resources or support in the workplace itself.
Some hot stats looking at the mental health stigma in today’s workplaces:
42% said their condition has a significant impact on their ability to do their job well; nearly all (91%) said their condition impacts their job performance in some way.
While many employees (60%) said they’ve taken PTO to manage their stress, those who didn’t said their PTO they would feel guilty or weak or that their manager wouldn’t support them.
Nearly 30% said their manager isn’t conscientious about mental wellbeing in the workplace.
The data is clear: while we’re hearing more people talk about their mental wellbeing more openly, the stigma still exists in the workplace and employers have a lot of work to do to make positive changes.
Employers need to step it up with better benefits, better education and better work cultures designed to support humans, not employee IDs. The best place for employers to start making changes is with their benefits communications—educating employees about the resources and support available to them needs to happen year-round (not just during open enrollment).
As COVID-19 continues to impact the ways that we adjust our home and work lives, mental wellbeing support will become even more critical, especially when the home-office line gets blurred. Employers need to do the work of breaking down the stigma so their employees have more incentive—and ability—to manage their entire wellbeing.