According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 46.6 million Americans are struggling with mental illnesses. In a survey conducted by a non-profit organization that partners with companies in improving mental health resources called Mind Share Partners, they were able to look into the effects of mental health issues on employees.
The survey involved 1,500 people from one company. The participants were aged 16 and older. The questions in the survey covered how many times they experienced mental health symptoms like fainting, sweating, trembling, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, or upset stomach.
The participants were also asked how these symptoms impacted their work. The survey also looked into the adequacy and availability of mental health support and resources in their place of work.
The findings of the study have been published in the Harvard Business Review. According to the study, 60% of people have exhibited symptoms of mental health issues in the last year.
Based on the findings, 75% of those belonging to the 18-22 age group or Gen-Zer, said they have left jobs partially because of mental health reasons. Half of the millennial respondents or those aged 23-28 years old also said the same thing.
For those who are between 55 to 73 years old or the baby boomers, less than 10% of them cited mental health-related reasons as the cause of leaving a job. It should be noted that these findings are based on 20% of the total survey respondents who reported doing the same.
According to the CEO and founder of Mind Share Partners, it seems that the younger generations are more aware compared to those who are part of older generations.
“Mental health is something they’re used to talking about freely. All a sudden they get into the workplace and they’re not supposed to talk about it,” Greenwood said.
When it comes to symptoms of anxiety, millennials and Gen-Zers were likely to experience these three to four times more respectively. Compared to baby boomers, about 63% of millennials included in the survey were likely to search for support from the company like health training or counseling.
Greenwood says that the difference could be because of societal cultural change. It could also be due to the fact Gen-Zers and millennials are more aware of their mental health.
Other demographic factors have affected the results of the survey. One of these factors is the race. Compared to Caucasians, Latin and Black respondents were 50% more likely to leave their jobs voluntarily. These two races also had higher rates of mental health symptoms than their Caucasian counterparts.
“Underrepresented groups come across additional challenges in the workplace by virtue of race or ethnicity. That certainly creates additional challenges on top of what it looks like to be in the majority in a company,” Greenwood adds.
Another factor that contributed to the results was the industry type people worked in. As an example, 55% of those who worked in the tech industry said that they had left their jobs voluntarily because of their struggles.
In a nutshell, mental health impacts people and their performances in the workplace. Based on the survey, 61% have said that mental health has affected their productivity at work and 37% said the work environment played a part in how they felt.
Greenwood recommends that employers should be able to provide employees with concrete mental health benefits. This includes setting up mental health resource groups for employees. An avenue such as this would allow people who are experiencing the same thing to know each other in the workplace.
She also adds that if companies can speak about the resources available to employees such as therapy, it would be able to help their employees. There should also be training for both managers and employers about looking out for signs and symptoms of mental health issues. They should also be able to know how to handle conversations regarding mental health.