Mental health has become a central topic around workplace wellness conversations. Though there’s a lot of stigma around the topic, studies have found that workplace stress can negatively impact a person’s well-being, productivity, mood, and behavior.
Being unhappy with, or unfulfilled by work has a significant toll on health, relationships, and -- even -- an individual’s lifespan. Click To Tweet Mental Health America claims that “stress from work can impact their family life, mental health, and even increase risks for chronic illnesses and heart attacks.”
Work is a major part of adult life, and many adults spend more time in the workplace than they do at home. As the workplace increasingly becomes a destination rather than a place where people have to be, companies are faced with the challenge to address mental health and well-being at work. Creating a work environment that inspires people and makes workers happy will not only contribute to business success, but it will also go a long way in attracting and retaining the best talent.
As companies increasingly realize the impact that the mental health of employees can have on business performance and longevity, many have started to focus on implementing or increasing workplace wellness initiatives.
Suggested Reading: “20 Workplace Wellness Program Ideas”
A recent survey by Wellable found that “overall, employers are increasing their investment in health and well-being programs with more than double (35%) planning to invest more compared to those who plan to invest less (14%).” The survey also found that stress management ranked among the highest in terms of how many companies expect to invest more in this area.
All of the above should not come as a surprise, as the World Health Organization (WHO) recently recognized burnout as an occupational phenomenon.
Key Facts and Figures about Mental Health in the Workplace
1. The World Health Organization estimates that depression and anxiety costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity.
2. The WHO has also found that investing in mental wellness is worth it, as for every $1 put into scaled up treatment for common mental disorders, there is an ROI of $4 in improved health and productivity.
3. Wellable’s survey revealed the most favorable mental health programs:
- 67% favor employee assistance programs (EAP) — though Wellable notes that these programs might not be delivering the results companies expect
- 46% value mental health education resources, like access to webinars or seminars
- 30% favor flexible work schedules (Recommended Reading: “Future of Work: Introducing the Flexiverse”)
- 29% value access to digital health tools.
4. Wellable also argues that mindfulness and meditation programs aimed at alleviating stress are growing in popularity, with 53% of employers expecting to invest more in this area.
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5. A report published by Capita found that:
- 79% of workers have experienced stress at work during the last 12 months
- 22% feel stress more often than not or all the time
- 47% feel that it is normal to feel stress and anxiety at work
- 45% have considered leaving a job due to the stress it has created
- 53% have known colleagues forced to give up work due to stress
- 49% do not think their line manager would know what to do if they talked to them about a mental health issue.
6. The same Capita report also found that the most common response to stress is increased irritability in the workplace. This means that stress not only affects one person, but rather an entire team and fellow coworkers.
- 44% were more irritated at work
- 25% drank more alcohol
- 28% took it out on their family
- 15% smoked more cigarettes
7. Capita also found that 24% of workers have taken time off because of stress. However, only 41% of those reported that the absence was stress related. Similarly, only 37% of workers feel comfortable telling coworkers they took time off because of mental health issues.
8. A 2019 survey by Mental Health America found that 66% of workers reported that workplace issues negatively affect their sleep.
9. The same survey found that 50% of respondents engage in unhealthy behaviors to cope with workplace stress.
10. 55% of respondents said they were afraid to take a day off to tend to their mental health.
11. People who reported that it was unsafe to discuss their workplace stress in their companies had poor outcomes for employee engagement and wellbeing, including:
- Difficulty with sleep
- Lower confidence in the workplace
- Lower motivation
- Lower presenteeism.
Statistics and facts taken from the following reports:
Mental Health America – 2019 Mind the Workplace
Capita – Workplace Wellness, Employee Insight Report 2019
The World Health Organization – Mental Health in the Workplace
Wellable – 2019 Employee Wellness Industry Trends Report