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Training Magazine

januari 19, 2024


5 Considerations About Employee Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic altered many aspects of our lives: how we work, where we live, and how we feel about almost everything. Although mental health has become an increasingly visible topic nationwide, it seems to be more talk than action in many workplaces.

In fact, according to a new survey on work-related stress, half of Americans say their company doesn’t do enough to support their mental health, and nearly two-thirds say social support isn’t a priority at their office.

So, what can you do to bolster well-being at your workplace? Based on the results of the survey—which questioned over 1,000 Americans about work and their mental health—we’ve come up with five considerations about employee mental health and five ways to help your employees thrive. Your team will thank you for it, and your organization’s bottom line just might, too.

Considerations About Employee Mental Health

1. People with higher salaries report better mental health.

They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure seems to help. Survey results show that mental health improves with income—and not at the exorbitant salaries that you might think. Employees who make $50,000 or more per year say they have “good” mental health, while those who make less than $35,000 per year say their mental health is just “okay.”

Another key finding related to income? Nearly half (42 percent) of employees identify compensation as the top cause of stress at their job, even more than those who identify it as being overworked (39 percent).

2. Employees need social support but don’t have access to it.

Nearly two-thirds of employees (64 percent) say having social support at work would improve their sense of well-being. Almost three-quarters (73 percent), however, say it isn’t a priority in their office culture.

While social support can range from spontaneous words of encouragement to official mentorship programs, the most popular style mentioned by employees at their workplace is social events (37 percent).

3. Employees are still too afraid to discuss mental health at work.

The way we talk about mental health may be changing, but it’s still a taboo topic at many workplaces. A full 60 percent of respondents say they haven’t spoken about mental health on the job. Only 22 percent avoid it because of the stigma around mental illness, with another 20 percent saying they don’t want their credibility at work to suffer.

So, why do most people avoid the topic at the office? Over half (52 percent) say it’s because mental health is a private matter.

4.     It’s not that mental health services aren’t needed; there are barriers to access.

Despite all the talk about well-being in the workplace, the results suggest that many companies don’t view mental health as important as physical health. Once employees decide they need support, can they get it, and can they afford it?

The biggest barrier to care is cost, with 30 percent of employees reporting that the expense prevents them from using mental health services. Nearly 1 in 3 wish their employers provided access to online mental health resources.

5. Mental health greatly impacts productivity.

Mental health is important not only to your employees but also to your organization as a whole. Over half of respondents (56 percent) said that when their mental health suffers, so does their productivity and performance at work. A full 41 percent said they have quit or considered quitting their jobs due to mental health stress.

Ways for Companies to Help Employees Thrive

1. Foster a supportive and connected environment.

Sometimes, the best way to bolster mental health is just to create space for that to happen. Start small with weekly check-ins or quarterly catered lunches, or go big with official employee assistance programs. With so many people working remotely or on hybrid schedules, maintaining open lines of communication and social connection is more important than ever.

2. Provide healthcare coverage that includes mental health.

A panic attack can disrupt work as much as a leg injury. So, why would your company’s health insurance only include physical care? Adding prescription coverage, access to mental health professionals (even online), and/or personal health days can help your employees stay healthy in mind and body.

3. Compensate employees better for their work.

Sometimes, it really is as simple as raising an employee’s salary. A higher income means less stress about the necessities of life and more money to practice self-care, seek professional help, or afford prescription medications.

4. Raise awareness for employees consistently.

Creating an atmosphere of awareness and a culture of compassion can help improve workplace morale. Whether you share your own struggles with mental health or invite a professional speaker to discuss healthy emotional habits, let your staff know that mental health topics are not taboo. Encouraging employees to speak up can also help lift the stigma on emotional struggles.

5. Foster a good work-life balance.

Little things really can add up. You may not be able to change your company compensation structure or insurance coverage overnight, but what else can you do? Perhaps you can subsidize gym memberships or yoga classes. Or, permit flexible working schedules (even for one day a week). You can also simply keep your ear to the ground and adjust expectations when employees seem stressed.

The Bottom Line

While the subject of mental health can seem subjective and intangible, it can have some very real impacts on your organizational culture and employee performance. Taking some proactive steps can help resolve issues before they become problematic. With the job market being tighter than ever, leveling up your office’s mental health game may give you the edge on employee recruitment and retention.

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