HRE’s number of the day: mental health worries

59: Percentage of workers who say mental and psychological wellbeing is their top concern regarding their wellbeing at work

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About six in 10 workers report stress and burnout is their top wellbeing concern at work, according to a survey of more than 1,100 U.S. workers from The Conference Board. The poll, conducted in March, surveyed workers representing a cross-section of people across industries, from lower-level employees to CEOs. More than one-third of respondents also expressed concerns about their physical wellbeing, including fear of getting sick. Another one-third worried about social wellness and belonging, such as opportunities to connect with others.

What it means for HR leaders

The data is the latest to point to a troubling mental health epidemic and underscore just how much stress and burnout is a concern for employees. Scores of other research have pointed to soaring rates of depression, anxiety, stress and burnout, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out more about the mental health crisis–and what employers can do about it–at HRE’s upcoming virtual (and free!) benefits conference. Register here.

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Yet, despite these concerns, the Conference Board survey reveals that participation in programs that could help with employee mental health actually decreased during the pandemic. Usage of mental health resources and employee assistance programs, for instance, dropped 4% during the pandemic.

“With the wellbeing of so many workers under immense strain, it’s surprising that the use of many programs to support wellness decreased,” says Rebecca Ray, executive vice president of human capital at The Conference Board. “These findings speak to the need for better communication from leaders about the availability of resources, and a rethinking of the ways in which companies offer them.”

Amy Lui Abel, vice president of human capital research at the Conference Board, says employers have significant work to do in order to help workers improve their mental health.

“Today more than ever, leaders need to understand their teams’ struggles so they can take steps to actively support their wellbeing, engagement and productivity,” she says. “By managing with empathy, leaders can build trust and better understand how to support their employees’ wellbeing.”

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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.