My take away from reading about a recent APA survey, is that there’s good news, and bad news.
First, the good news I found in the article:
Roughly half of American workers say they are comfortable talking about their mental health in the workplace
Younger workers are much more likely to feel they can discuss their mental health—millennials are almost twice as likely as baby boomers to be comfortable (62% vs. 32%).
Most workers say they would recognize signs of distress in co-workers and would reach out to help. About three in four workers say they would recognize signs of anxiety, depression or other mental illness among co-workers and a majority say they would reach out to a co-worker showing signs of mental illness.
The vast majority of workers say their employers offer some type of mental health resources, such as an employee assistance program, mental health days, wellness programs or onsite mental health services.
This tells me that the awareness campaigns are having a major impact on people. They are more aware of their coworkers struggles, more comfortable talking about their own issues, and that there is some type of program available.
On the other hand, this is still much too high:
A significant portion of workers, more than one in three, are concerned about retaliation or being fired if they seek mental health care.
This tells me that for all of the awareness that has been raised, too many people are still fearful of management. Employers are not doing a good job of getting the message out that they support the mental health of their employees and will stand by them if they do seek help.
Is that a perception, a messaging problem, or is that fear justified?
Just my own opinion here, but I think there are still too many workplaces where that fear is totally justified.
How dreadful would it be to get to a point where people are finally able to reach out for help, to possibly save their lives through treatment, only to get harmed for doing it? That’s not the organization any of us should seek to be. Your employees deserve better, and if they can get help, with your support, it will be worth your efforts too.
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