Post-pandemic workforce demands mental health support

By NAMI National

Employees expect management to incorporate mental health programming into workplace culture

A new poll from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shows that an overwhelming number of American workers believe in the benefits of talking about mental health and receiving support in their workplaces. The poll also uncovered a knowledge gap in employer-provided mental healthcare coverage, indicating the need for more communication to improve workplace culture.

“This poll shows that, without a doubt, today’s workforce wants their employers to care about their mental health by talking about it, giving training on it and providing support for it,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison Jr. “That is why partnerships like NAMI’s StigmaFree Workplace initiative are crucial."

The StigmaFree Workplace initiative aims to assist employers in educating the workforce about the effects of stigma and accessing mental health services. Gillison hopes healthy workplace cultures are cultivated as a result.

Employees want to talk about mental health, but don’t

While 74% of employees said it is appropriate to discuss mental health concerns at work, significantly fewer (58%) said they would. The most common reasons employees cited for feeling uncomfortable discussing their mental health at work were judgment from colleagues, not hearing any one else talk about it and not wanting to seem weak. This gap between the perceived appropriateness of discussing mental health and the willingness to personally share about it suggests a fundamental disconnection.

Photo of numerous office cubicles in multiple rows
Photo by Igor Omilaev, Unsplash

Half of employees feel burned out

Half of employees say they have felt burned out at work in the past year. Correspondingly, employees who are uncomfortable talking about their mental health at work are more likely to report feeling burnout. The same is true for managers who feel their workplace isn’t giving them the proper resources to discuss the topic with their employees. Employees under 50 and women were more likely to report burnout.

Mental health training is important to employees, but managers are unprepared

Four in five employees agree mental health and wellbeing training is, or would be, important in creating a positive workplace culture and three-quarters want supervisors and senior leadership to set a comfortable tone for discussing mental health at work. However, 7 in 10 managers have not received training to do so. Employers need to close that gap.

Most employees see mental health coverage as integral

A surprising 92% of poll respondents, regardless of gender, age or career stage, believe employer-sponsored mental health coverage is important for creating a positive workplace culture. However, 1 in 4 say they don’t know if their employer’s health plan even provides this coverage, indicating a need for more direct communication about available services.

Photo of a Black, male factory worker looking down & measuring pieces of metal
Photo by Spencer Davis, Unsplash

Overall, employees who are offered mental health coverage and resources by their employers are more comfortable sharing the status of own mental health at work. “We have to do more to create environments that are safe and supportive to address this mental health crisis,” said Gillison.

Read the original article here.

If you or someone you know is dealing with the effects of workplace burnout, call or chat with the 988 Lifeline or take a look at the Moodfuel Resource Guide, confidential and available 24/7 with 1,000+ links to no- and low- cost programs, groups and listeners statewide.

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