Employees are still afraid to discuss mental health at work

By Shalene Gupta

May 23, 2022

Employees are still afraid to discuss mental health at work

As the pandemic has dragged on, mental health has moved to center stage. During his New Year’s resolutions for 2022, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta warned that mental health problems have gone up in recent years. In 2020, 42% of people reported experiencing psychological distress compared to 32% in 2018. And yet, according to a new Fast Company-Harris Poll, employers are still lagging behind when it comes to providing mental health services. The survey of 1,079 U.S. adults revealed the following key insights:

    Employees say there’s a silence around mental health at work. According to the study, 86% of employees say mental health awareness at work is important to them, 77% believe workplace mental health isn’t talked about enough, but 58% say they are not comfortable discussing their mental health at work.

    Employers aren’t providing enough mental health resources. While 81% of working adults believe that employers have an obligation to prioritize their employees’ mental health, only 30% say that their employer provides access to mental health services. On the whole, for a mental health/wellness benefit, 21% of employees said unlimited paid time off was their top pick compared to 9% whose choice was flexible working hours.

    Mental health impacts performance: 47% of employees said their job had negatively impacted their mental health. Moreover, 43% said that their mental health negatively impacted their job performance.

“Talking about mental health in the workplace is important, but it is no substitute for taking action,” said Will Johnson, CEO of the Harris Poll. “[That] is where employers are likely falling short of expectations.”