In a world buzzing with deadlines and duties, a mental health day often seems like a luxury rather than a necessity. But let’s pause and reconsider. Did you know that over half of employed Americans believe mental health isn’t a valid reason to call out of work? Shocking, right?
A recent study involving 2,000 American workers by OnePoll shines a light on our perceptions of mental health in the workplace. What it revealed was both concerning and eye-opening. A staggering 57 percent agreed that a negative stigma still envelops conversations about mental health at work. That’s more than just a statistic; it’s a barrier we must break.
It’s a reality for 62 percent of those surveyed. This judgment leads 54 percent of employees to believe that citing mental health concerns isn’t a strong enough reason to call out.
But it doesn’t stop there. Seven in 10 workers would rather take an entire day off than admit they need a few hours to rejuvenate their mental state. It’s a telling sign of the anxiety surrounding addressing mental health at work. In fact, two in three employees opt for a vague “appointment” excuse rather than openly discussing their mental health needs with their employers.
This anxiety around using Paid Time Off (PTO) for mental health reasons is a hurdle that many grapple with. Astonishingly, 56 percent of respondents admitted avoiding scheduling medical appointments just to sidestep the discomfort of requesting time off.
Moreover, there’s a prevailing fear among 56 percent of employees that their employers might doubt their ability to perform if they were to request time off for mental health care. This fear is more pronounced among salaried workers, standing at 62 percent compared to 48 percent among hourly workers.
Despite these hurdles and fears of judgment, nearly three in five workers actively seek mental health care. The wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified this need, with 55 percent admitting to increasing their use of mental health services since its onset.
Mental health care obstacles
This crisis has awakened a consciousness about mental well-being, with 57 percent of respondents acknowledging a heightened concern for their mental health. Interestingly, 65 percent of salaried workers echo this sentiment compared to 50 percent of hourly workers.
However, accessing mental health care isn’t a walk in the park. Forty-eight percent cited the high cost as the primary obstacle, while 45 percent worry about being judged by loved ones for seeking such care. Moreover, time constraints hinder 41 percent from seeking the necessary support, while 33 percent express fear about discussions with healthcare professionals.
What’s the solution? A staggering 64 percent of working Americans yearn for more mental health care options outside traditional therapy, whether in-person or virtual.
Ludmila Smirnova, CEO of Learn to Live, notes, “The stigma around mental health still exists, but with digital and remote solutions, seeking support can seamlessly fit into one’s life.”
Making mental health part of the workplace culture
Employers play a pivotal role in reshaping workplace culture. A significant 58 percent advocate for dedicated paid time off specifically for mental health services. They propose granting employees three hours a month for this purpose.
Interestingly, half of the respondents feel that using their lunch break for mental health needs could enhance their productivity. With remote work becoming more prevalent, 60 percent worry about privacy when seeking mental health care virtually.
Our lives are hectic, no doubt. But mental health care should be seamlessly integrated into our routines. It’s time to prioritize mental well-being without fearing judgment or compromising professional efficiency.
Let’s usher in an era where mental health isn’t just an afterthought but a fundamental part of workplace culture, fostering healthier and more productive environments for everyone.
How does the workplace affect mental health?
An employee may become physically and mentally exhausted due to a heavy workload, especially long workdays, and constant pressure to perform at the highest levels for the same compensation. Regular travel and extended time away from family can also increase an employee’s stress levels.
What is the meaning of mental health at the workplace?
The emotional, social, and psychological condition of employees in a shared work environment is referred to as mental health in the workplace.
What does mental health mean?
Our psychological, social, and emotional wellness is part of our mental health. It impacts our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. It also impacts how we respond to stress, interact with people, and make wise decisions.