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Employee Mental Health Remains Low

August 6, 2022

By Jason Rowe, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

New research from employee benefits provider Unum shows over half (56%) of U.S. workers, primarily Millennials and Gen Z, felt mentally unwell in the previous year. Additionally, 42% of employees said they needed to take time off from work to deal with their mental health. Fortunately, 71% of workers believe their employer is more concerned about employees’ mental health than they were in the past according to the recently released 2022 Work and Well-being Survey from American Psychological Association (APA).

Employee mental health remains low. Experts say the combination of health concerns and work pressures during the pandemic caused widespread mental health problems that will reverberate far into the future.

Among U.S. workers, Unum research found:

  • 70% of employees suggest there’s room for improvement for their employers to reduce the stigma around mental health all year-round.
  • Nearly one third (30%) say their employer does not do a good job of promoting mental health resources or offerings.
  • 42% are more likely to seek mental well-being support only in a crisis, rather than seeking help proactively.
  • One in three (35%) identify cost of services as the biggest deterrent when seeking mental health resources.
  • One third (33%) are a part of the “Sandwich Generation,” meaning they currently care for parents/elders and children/younger dependents, which often comes with more responsibility, greater financial burden, and, at times, devastating stress.

Other insights from the APA survey revealed that 81% of workers in the United States are seeking employment opportunities at companies that actively support employee mental health.

In addition to mental health support, employees indicated they would also like to see:

  • More flexible work hours (41%)
  • A culture that respects paid time off (34%)
  • The ability to work remotely (33%)
  • A 4-day work week (31%)

A vast majority (95%) of respondents view initiatives such as these effective for improving mental health.

Mental health support and flexible work hours may offer some improvements to workplace culture. Other strategies employers can implement to prioritize employee well-being are prioritize transparency and open dialogues; host regular check-ins about workloads; and improve diversity from the top down.

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