Mental Health Importance is Finally Being Recognized in the Majority of the Workplace
A new study conducted shows 70 percent of U.S. employees now recognize mental health as a serious issue at work.
- By Shereen Hashem
- Jul 09, 2021
Mental health has always been a serious topic no matter what or where. The Hartford surveyed employers nationwide, saying, according to an article, 72 percent of people are not seeking help because of the stigma associated with mental illness.
“Our new data on stigma is a wake-up call,” The Hartford's chair and CEO Christopher Swift said in a statement.
The pandemic, undoubtedly, made the issue worse. Employers are seeing their employees come back to work with fear and anxiety. Some have faced domestic abuse, substance misuse and depression. However, as the U.S. economy rebuilds, employers are encouraged to put their employees’ mental health first by implementing a stigma-free environment and encouraging early treatment.
There’s a divide.
The survey conducted by The Hartford found that 52 percent of employers said they are experiencing workplace issues due to “substance misuse and addiction.” The poll was taken with 617 employers and 1,005 employees between January and February. The survey is a part of The Hartford’s 2021 Future of Benefits Study and shows the divide between employers and employees’ mental health at work. An example provided says “80 percent of employers say their company has been more accepting of mental health challenges in the past year, but only 59 percent of workers agree.”
Businesses can directly address any issues or disconnect between employers and employees by distributing a policy or statement that openly acknowledges the struggles or difficulties he/she may be facing. It should also include the services and go into depth about what the company offers, for example, Employee Assistance Programs and scheduling accommodations. Ignoring the problem will make it much worse and could potentially impact work performance and attendance.
The Hartford’s research also showed the economic impact of untreated conditions due to stigma. It shows 31 percent said the strain on employee mental health is having a significant or severe financial impact on their company which is a 10-point increase from a March 2020 survey. The research shows that mental health issues are among the top five reasons for short-term disability claims. The company says a person diagnosed with an injury or illness along with a mental health condition takes two to three times longer to recover.
Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.