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Employees Mental Health At Work


Employees Mental Health At Work

Employees Not Comfortable Discussing Mental Health At Work ( Employees Mental Health At Work)

Mental health is often treated quite differently than other areas of wellness. For example, while employees are likely to feel free to talk about physical ailments (e.g., migraines, the common cold, injuries, etc.), they may be less inclined to discuss anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns.

As rates of anxiety and depression rose dramatically throughout the pandemic, individuals and businesses couldn’t help but talk about mental health. The result was that mental health became a more normalized discussion topic and no longer as taboo. Despite this progress, mental health remains heavily stigmatized in certain work environments. According to a 2022-23 study from The Harris Poll, 58% of employees do not feel comfortable talking about their mental health at work.

Why This Matters
With pandemic-related stressors beginning to subside, one might think mental health stigma at the office is less of a pressing issue. However, several concerns suggest that companies must continue to destigmatize mental health discussions at work even as the factors that gave rise to the spike in mental illness and highlighted the importance of mental health fade away.

Mental Health Will Remain A Significant Post-Pandemic Concern
According to a survey conducted by Mental Health America, nearly 50 million Americans experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders one year before the pandemic, meaning a substantial number of adults were already dealing with mental illness for unrelated reasons.

Since then, rates of depression and anxiety have risen dramatically and may not return to pre-pandemic levels any time soon, as years of sustained stress and anxiety aren’t likely to go away overnight. Moreover, as employees come back into the workplace and cope with novel organizational challenges, they will experience new sources of stress and anxiety, replacing pandemic-related stressors with work-related ones.

Employees Mental Health At Work
Employees Mental Health At Work

Perceived Stigma Can Limit Use Of Mental Health Benefits
As employees continue to experience stress and anxiety, it is critical that they feel comfortable discussing their mental health at work. Employees who don’t believe their place of work is a safe space to discuss their mental health may be less likely to utilize their organization’s mental health benefits. In some cases, this may happen because employees don’t know about the benefits available to them since they don’t feel they can ask.

In other cases, employees may not address their mental health because they have internalized what they perceive to be a negative attitude toward mental health at work. A recent survey of over 45,000 individuals found that 22% were deterred from seeking help for clinical or subclinical mental health symptoms due to perceived social stigma, making it the fourth most commonly cited barrier among the 10 countries included in the study. For similar reasons, employees may not take time off when they feel stressed or overwhelmed, which is necessary to avoid burnout.

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