How many employees are looking for workplaces with mental health support?

The vast majority of workers—eight in 10—are seeking workplaces that offer mental health support, according to a survey of employees from the American Psychological Association. The organization’s 2022 Work and Well-being Survey was conducted online by the Harris Poll among more than 2,000 working adults between April 22 and May 2. The survey also found that 71% believe their employer is more concerned about the mental health of employees now than before the pandemic, while 39% of employees have stated that their workplace environment has had a negative impact on their mental health.

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What it means to HR leaders

The data is the latest to reiterate a fact that employers are increasingly growing aware of: If they want workers, they better make sure they’re offering comprehensive mental health help.

The findings, says Arthur Evans, Jr., APA’s chief executive officer, “underscore the importance of mental health support in the workplace to workers across all industries. Some of the increased focus on workplace mental health support may have resulted from employers working to meet employees’ needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Many employers have stepped up offerings and support over the past two-plus years—like employee assistance programs or mental health apps—as employee levels of stress, depression, anxiety, burnout and more have risen.

Though these efforts have been helpful, Evans says, “it is important to recognize many workers continue to struggle and need additional supports.” Therefore, “employers must maintain and, in some cases, expand their mental health service offerings,” he says.

Despite employees citing the importance of benefits—including mental health support—some employers are falling short in their offerings, indicating many opportunities for improvement. A recent report from the Transamerica Institute and its Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, for instance, found that while the vast majority (71%) of workers say employee assistance programs are important, just 30% of employers offer them.

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Especially in an employee-driven market, when employees are tempted to leave for better benefits and other opportunities, employers should reevaluate benefits and consider boosting support, especially mental health help.

“In today’s intense labor market, a more robust benefits package could give employers a needed edge in the competition for talent,” says Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of Transamerica Institute and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.