Posted on Feb 07, 2023, 12 p.m.
Working professionals and companies that employ them are in much need of information regarding mental health. Several industries, including finance, technology, healthcare, and sales and marketing, struggle to address this topic among employees. As a result, these industries experience high turnover rates and burnt-out professionals. Globally, depression and anxiety account for 12 billion missed work days each year, and companies lose $1 trillion in productivity annually.
Despite these alarming numbers, many organizations don’t know how to implement strategies that promote mental health. Others simply don’t have knowledge of this phenomenon—or worse, they don’t care. Learning about the importance of mental health in the workplace can help company leaders improve retention rates, reduce employee costs, increase employee productivity and satisfaction, and create an environment that attracts top talent.
What Employers Need to Know: Facts and Statistics
A 2021 study by the American Psychological Association found that around three in five employees, or 59% of working adults, suffered negative effects due to work-related stress in the past month when the study was conducted. These effects include high-stress levels, burnout, depression, and other mental health issues. This study also found that 87% of employees believe employers can take action that could have a positive impact on their mental health. These numbers show the significant effect that the workplace can have on employees, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg. The following are additional facts related to overall and industry-specific workplace mental health.
Employee Outlook on the Workforce and Workplace
Here are statistics related to factors that affect employee mental health at work:
- In 2021, more than two in five employees reported they plan to look for new jobs because of workplace stress.
- Employees who have witnessed workplace discrimination are more than twice as likely to look for other employment as those who have not witnessed workplace discrimination.
- Major factors that influence workplace stress include low salaries, minimal growth opportunity, excessive workload, minimal or no paid time off or sick leave, commuting, and long hours.
- Not being included in workplace decisions contributes to the stress of almost half of all employees.
- Work-related stress causes low motivation and energy, lack of interest, trouble focusing, and reduced effort for more than half of all employees.
- Those with lower-level positions are more likely to experience workplace stress than those with higher-level jobs.
What’s more, employees reported that how their employer supports mental health in the workplace directly affects their mental and emotional well-being. Actions employers can take include offering flexible hours, encouraging workers to take care of their mental and physical health, creating an environment that promotes the use of available paid time off, and encouraging breaks throughout the workday. Additionally, 37% of employees noted that offering mental health resources would improve their workplace experience. Thirty-six percent of employees also stated that increased recognition of employee accomplishments may lead to a more supportive and healthy work environment.
Industry-Specific Mental Health Facts
Each industry is different, with some industries having much higher rates of workplace stress and mental health issues than others. Factors like workplace conditions, job demands, and pay play a role. Some of the industries with the highest levels of employee stress and mental health issues include technology, finance, healthcare, and sales and marketing. Here are statistics related to the mental health of employees in these specific industries:
The technology field focuses on the development and evolution of goods and services related to artificial intelligence, software, electronics, and computers. Technology employees may work long hours at their desks, allowing for little downtime and work-life balance. Here are specific employee mental health facts in this industry:
- According to a 2017 Open Sourcing Mental Illness (OSMI) Mental Health in Tech Survey, roughly 46% of employees in the technology industry currently have a mental health disorder. Ninety-nine percent have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder at least once in their lifetime.
- The same study found that 73% of technology employees reported mental health issues negatively impact their work productivity.
- Anxiety and mood disorders, such as depression, have the highest prevalence among employees in this industry.
- More than 44% of employees reported not being aware of the mental health benefits available through their employer-provided health insurance coverage.
- Forty percent of employees said their employers do not offer resources to learn more about mental health.
The technology industry fosters an environment that typically promotes high stress due to tight deadlines and late nights. This type of environment can make it difficult to take breaks—or even feel like taking a break is acceptable. Some employees feel they must work until they’re done with their tasks, regardless of how long it takes.
Finance is another industry that commonly sees issues related to mental health and burnout. As with other industries mentioned, long hours and stringent deadlines are top contributors. The COVID-19 pandemic brought these issues to light and worsened existing mental health-related conditions in the financial sector. Here are some facts on mental health in the finance industry:
- AON’s 2021 Global Wellbeing Survey found that stress (67%) and burnout (46%) were the top reasons for lower company performance.
- Depression, panic disorder, psychogenic pain conditions, and post-traumatic stress disorder are the top mental health disorders affecting financial employees.
- In a 2021 Banking Administration Institute survey, results showed the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on mental health for 37% of employees.
- Twenty-eight percent of finance organizations stated they don’t do more to support employee mental health because they aren’t able to measure results.
- Forty percent of finance organizations stated they don’t do more to support employee mental health because they have other priorities they must address first.
The finance industry often encourages heavy workloads and demanding hours, leaving little time for rest. A Goldman Sachs study found that first-year financial analysts work more than 95 hours a week and average five hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep and extreme pressure can put workers at an increased risk of developing or worsening a mental health condition.
Like others, the healthcare industry is one that provides many benefits to individuals, but it’s known for long hours and high-stress conditions for employees. Physical and emotional labor, irregular shifts, and exposure to death and suffering can all negatively impact physicians, nurses, and administrators in this field. Here are statistics directly related to mental health in the healthcare industry:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health issues that healthcare workers face include depression, stress, anxiety, burnout, substance abuse and addiction, and suicidal thoughts and behavior.
- The CDC reported that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 79% of all physicians were already experiencing burnout.
- Ninety-three percent of healthcare employees reported feeling stressed out.
- Eighty-two percent of healthcare workers reported feeling physically and emotionally exhausted.
- Sixty-nine percent of physicians reported they were depressed, and 13% reported having suicidal thoughts.
- In a 2021 McKinsey survey, 22% of nurses reported they may leave their current role within a year due to stress and burnout.
These statistics show the need for action on behalf of healthcare organizations. Without action, these conditions may cause a shortage of healthcare workers and contribute to worsening mental health in the workers who continue to hold jobs in this sector.
Sales and Marketing
The sales and marketing sector is another industry where employees struggle with stress and mental health. Anxiety and burnout tend to be the norm in this industry rather than the exception. The pressure to perform well, long hours, and the constant rejection many sales employees experience can all add to the potential for mental health issues. Here are a few industry-specific statistics:
- A survey by Team Blind found that 74.8% of those in marketing and communications experience burnout.
- An anonymous mental health survey by The Drum found that 75% of marketers experienced a decrease in their mental health since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In the same survey, 43% of sales and marketing professionals reported their employer provided no support for mental health.
- A 2021 research study by UNCrushed found that 58% of salespeople struggle with mental health.
- This survey also showed that account managers, account executives, and frontline sales managers struggle the most with their mental health.
These high rates of burnout can lead to increased turnover rates and decreased productivity. This can ultimately result in companies experiencing reduced output rates and income.
How Mental Health Issues Impact Finance, Healthcare, Tech, and Sales and Marketing Businesses
Employees struggling with poor mental health are at a greater risk of burnout, which can have a significant impact on their productivity. Additionally, work-related stress can cause increased human error and “occupational ill health,” or a condition caused by workplace hazards. These instances can cause an uptick in accidents in the workplace, leading to increased employee time off for physical and mental conditions. What’s more, a company with employees experiencing poor mental health cannot function at a high level. As a result, businesses often suffer serious consequences that directly affect their bottom line.
Some of the many issues that can arise because of poor employee mental health include:
Increased Turnover Rates
As seen in the statistics, employees experiencing high work-related stress, poor mental health, and/or burnout are more likely to leave their jobs at their current companies. Higher turnover rates can cause operational issues and reduce employee morale and productivity. It can also lead to increased costs associated with hiring and training new employees.
Loss of Top Talent
Loss of top talent goes hand-in-hand with higher turnover rates. If your most productive employees are experiencing burnout, poor mental health, and high stress, there’s a chance you may lose them. This can mean spending hours and money replacing that employee to avoid organizational and operational issues.
Higher Healthcare Costs
According to a study by Tufts Medical Center, an employer typically pays $10,000 a year in healthcare for an employee suffering from depression. This is more than twice the amount spent on employees without depression, which is roughly $4,500 a year. Healthcare costs can make a big difference in a company’s bottom line, and the more employees it has who experience mental health issues, the more it will end up paying for healthcare each year.
Increased Employee Absenteeism
According to one study, employees with depression have around 27 lost workdays per year. This can cost a company an estimated $4,400 annually per employee. It can also result in decreased output, which can cause additional increased costs for a business.
Presenteeism is when employees can come to work, but their mental health symptoms have a negative effect on their productivity. This can include experiencing reduced concentration and attention to detail, performing fewer physical tasks, having trouble with project management, and missing deadlines. These instances can cost companies money and time. In fact, they cost more in comparison to other health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.
Reduced Job Satisfaction
Heavy workloads, stressful work environments, lack of opportunity for advancement, and other work-related stress can negatively impact employee satisfaction. With lower job satisfaction comes increased turnover rates, lack of motivation, and the inability to excel in their positions. A Gallup report found that dissatisfied employees cost the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually.
Supporting Mental Health in the Technology, Finance, Healthcare, and Sales and Marketing Industries
Businesses play an important role in their employees’ overall mental well-being. There are several things companies can do to help mitigate mental health conditions. Most employees believe that having employers who take action to support mental health can make a major difference.
Some concepts companies can implement to support mental health include:
Encouraging Mental Health Awareness at Work
Companies can start by promoting mental health awareness in their offices. Some ways to do this include:
- Providing resources that help workers learn more about mental health conditions
- Ensuring information and resources are available for workers who are struggling
- Creating a support group where employees can meet and gain social support from their peers
- Establishing an anonymous way in which employees can inform HR that they are struggling
Having Regular Mental Health Check-Ins
Another great way to support employee mental health is to host routine mental health check-ins. This may be every three or four months, depending on what your team needs. These check-ins are essential for those working from home, as it’s difficult to tell how remote employees are doing through emails or virtual meetings. Regular check-ins give employees the opportunity to express any challenges or struggles. This also demonstrates to employees that it’s okay to be open with their managers about their mental health.
Holding an Educational Company-Wide Meeting
As a leader in your company, you’re responsible for educating your employees about mental health, workplace stress, and burnout. Holding an educational, company-wide meeting to discuss these topics with your team can help establish a supportive and healthy work environment. You can also hire a mental health professional to teach your business members about these conditions and suggest practices that can support mental health at work.
Allowing for Mental Health Days
Even employees who aren’t struggling with mental health issues need a day off here and there to recuperate. Allowing a set number of days off specifically for mental health can help encourage self-care and give employees the chance to take a mental and physical break. It can also allow workers to take this time off without fear of losing their other paid time off.
Offering Your Organization an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Offering employees an EAP allows them to get confidential assistance for issues such as financial problems, mental health issues, and substance abuse. The EAP program offers services through an outside provider that will help employees find the resources for their specific issues. Another benefit of this program is that it ensures confidentiality, so employees can feel more comfortable asking for help when they need it.
Communicating in a Way that Reduces Stigma
Stigma is a primary cause of employees not seeking help when they need it. Frequently talking about mental health and emotional well-being in the workplace can help reduce this stigma. For example, you can promote the mental health benefits available to employees each month in a newsletter.
Being Open to Flexibility
Many companies will accommodate a worker with certain physical injuries with no questions asked. Mental health conditions should be treated the same way. For example, if an employee who is mentally struggling comes to you, consider allowing them to shift their work hours, work from home, or offer other flexible options that can support the employee in a way that allows them to continue to work.
Providing Subscriptions to Meditation Apps
There are several great meditation apps out there, but most require a monthly or annual subscription to access them. Consider providing your employees with a subscription to one of these apps. Some app companies will even offer discounts for businesses. Examples of great meditation apps include:
- Insight Timer
- Simple Habit
Mental Health Resources for Employers
There are several resources available that can help educate employers on the importance of employee mental well-being. These resources can also help employers learn additional ways they can support their employees’ mental health. Some great resources to look into include:
- Center for Workplace Mental Health: This organization offers various tools to help employers promote a more supportive and inclusive environment. Examples of resources include employer training and educational case studies about organizational approaches to mental health.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): This organization focuses solely on mental health issues and works to raise awareness about mental health. They have a “StigmaFree Company” program where companies can pledge to create a more mentally healthy and accepting culture and can find specific resources on how to do so.
- Mental Health America (MHA): MHA is committed to advocating for mental health, and helping those struggling by offering early interventions, resources, services, and care. They also have a Workplace Mental Health Toolkit that teaches employers how to improve workplace policies and the overall culture of the workplace.
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM): SHRM is an organization that works to establish healthier workplaces for both employees and employers. They have several resources available, including the HR Resource Hub Pages, which explore various topics like mental health in the workplace.
The more aware employers are of their employees’ mental and emotional health, the better they can make adjustments and improvements that have a positive impact. Researching proven strategies can also help employers learn how to implement changes for a healthier workplace.
Mental Health Resources for Employees
In addition to resources for employers, there are also a number of resources available for employees. Sharing these resources with your team can help open the conversation around mental health in the workplace and provide support to employees struggling with mental health.
- Job Accommodation Network (JAN): This network is a top source for quality and confidential information regarding job accommodations. There are several resources available on JAN’s website, and the organization can also provide one-on-one assistance to individuals with disabilities, such as mental health conditions. Employees can visit their website or text JAN at (304) 216-8189.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): This federal agency is committed to supporting those struggling with mental health and substance abuse conditions throughout the United States. Employees struggling can visit this site to receive education about mental health and substance abuse and to find treatment locations near them. They have a 24-hour confidential and free helpline employees can reach by calling (800) 662-4357.
- Mental Health America (MHA): This resource is great not only for employers, but for employees as well. They have several programs and extensive information employees can use to educate themselves on mental health at work and how to care for their own mental well-being. They can be reached at (703) 684-5968.
- Active Minds: Active Minds is an organization committed to providing a variety of resources and programs to support individual and organizational mental health. This organization has a plethora of information directly on its website, or Active Minds can be contacted by phone at (202) 332-9595.
How CopyPress Has Improved Employee Mental Well-Being and Workplace Satisfaction
CopyPress is a content marketing company that continuously works to improve mental health and reduce stress and burnout in the workplace. We have seen first-hand just how important the emotional and mental well-being of our employees is. Here are a few ways that CopyPress has worked to create a healthy work environment:
- Hiring guest speakers to educate company members on burnout and stress management
- Offering flexible work hours
- Holding virtual yoga sessions
- Providing employees with high-quality healthcare at a minimal cost
- Creating virtual fitness groups where members can share their goals and progress and hold fitness challenges
- Implementing Slack and Slack groups for socialization and easy communication
- Sending anonymous digital surveys to employees to assess their experience at work
- Using activities like “Secret Santa” to promote engagement
- Increasing the amount of paid time off employees receive per year
The mental and emotional well-being of employees in the tech, finance, healthcare, and sales and marketing industries starts with their employers. The more effort you put into creating a healthy and supportive environment, the more your employees will benefit and remain productive at work and help your business excel.
This guide was written and supplied to WHN by Brittany Kay, who is a mental health counselor intern and a mental health advocate and campaign manager at CopyPress. She is passionate about mental health within the workplace and how it impacts employees and employers alike. She can be reached at email@example.com.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
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