The Current State of Mental Health and How Employers Can Help

From burnout to anxiety and depression to economic worries, many Americans are facing mental health challenges. Nearly a third of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression at the beginning of 2023, with a large portion of people experiencing symptoms in their 20s and 30s, right when their careers are taking off. Of course, compromised mental health overlaps with the workplace, which has caused many employers to address it in some form or fashion.

Here’s how employers can help:

Offer benefit packages which include mental health resources.

The number of people seeking medical treatment for mental health has increased dramatically since the start of COVID-19, and while we appear to be on the tail end of the pandemic, the mental health crisis shows no signs of slowing down. Employers can assist employees by providing comprehensive benefit packages that include access to mental health resources, which are increasingly in-house in larger corporations. By helping cover costs associated with mental health treatment plans, including counseling, companies can support their employees and help them be the happiest, most productive version of themselves.

Provide resources for working parents. 

Working parents or working caregivers have always been at a higher risk of burnout, stress, and anxiety. As COVID-19 surged, many of these employees faced even more stress as they grappled with working from home with multiple family members in the house. Even with children back to in-person school and some employees back in the office, working parents have had their world significantly altered and are still facing the mental health consequences years later. Employers can provide resources for employees who fall into this category by offering support groups, child care assistance, and flexible work options that give them the support and tools they need to be successful and defend against burnout.

Promote work-life balance.

Work-life balance has risen to the top of the list for employee needs. In fact, most surveys on the topic place work-life balance right alongside pay as the most important factor when considering a job. It’s no surprise, as having that balance fosters a healthier mentality. How else will people find the time to immerse themselves in activities with their family and friends and participate in hobbies and interests which are critical to their mental health? The key here is walking the talk and actually allowing for an appropriate balance across the entire company.

Foster a supportive, empathetic culture. 

Culture is everything, especially when it comes to workplace mental health. Companies can foster a culture that supports employees and their mental health by engaging in open dialog, offering support groups, and equipping employees with professional mental health resources when needed. No matter what you choose to offer, giving employees a safe space to talk about their mental health is crucial to help them be their best at work. 

Tackling the mental health crisis can be daunting, but there are many ways to support employee mental health at work. Whether companies choose to offer benefits that assist with mental health treatment, provide workplace resources and support groups, and/or lead by example and foster a supportive culture, employers can help employees face mental health challenges and feel their best in and out of the workplace.

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