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Employees Seek Mental Health Support in the COVID-19 Workplace

Employee Mental Health

These past several months have been trying for companies and staff alike, rife with uncertainty and tension. Addressing employee mental health has increasingly come into focus as a workplace concern. 24 Seven’s most recent research of talent attitudes and behaviors on the topic finds employees more emotionally stressed and seeking mental health support at work, and employers slow to respond, if at all.

Mental Health Support Wanted, But Not to Be Spoken Of

Eight out of ten employees say that since the pandemic crisis, their awareness of the need for mental health support has increased. However, 60% percent do not feel comfortable talking about their mental health at work. And from what our survey shows, there isn’t anyone to speak to about emotional wellness with anyway. Just 4% of survey participants say that the company has a designated “safe” individual with whom employees can discuss mental health challenges.

Employees Not Convinced Employers Care About their Physical & Emotional Wellness

Almost three-fourths of employees believe it is very to extremely important for companies to offer comprehensive mental health support. This comprises both reimbursable benefits as part of health care coverage and complimentary emotional wellness programs or training. According to the research, companies are not proactive when it comes to identifying mental health needs of employees. Nearly 9 out of 10 employees say their company does not survey them on their mental and emotional support needs. In fact, a majority (two-thirds) do not believe their employer cares very much about their wellness, both physical and emotional.One in five employers take no steps at all to support employee mental health and emotional wellness. Of those who do, the most common steps taken include:

  • offering reimbursable benefits as part of health coverage plan

  • arranging for additional complimentary or subsidized mental health trainings and resources outside of health coverage plan

  • providing for subsidized wellness perks (e.g. gym memberships, meditation courses, emotional wellness apps, etc.)

  • promoting national events, public workshops or campaigns about mental and emotional wellness

Twenty percent of companies have added or enhanced support since the pandemic.

Attitude Toward Self-care Shifts Among Increasingly Stressed Out Talent

Since the pandemic, employees are 1.5 times more likely to take time off to care for the mental health and emotional wellness. When asked to describe how they have been feeling since the pandemic crisis hit, respondents overwhelming said they were anxious. They also reported feeling emotionally stressed, restless, tired, and worried. Almost two-thirds of employees admit that they are working more and longer hours out of fear for losing their jobs. Employers should take note of the impact this distressed mental state might have on employee morale, productivity, and engagement. For those with direct reports, eight out of ten managers said that they have not been trained to handle potential mental health situations on their team.