Press Releases

NAMI Releases Poll Showing Post-Pandemic Workforce Demands More Mental Health Support

People Look to Employers to Provide More Mental Health Resources to Improve Workplace Culture

Feb 13 2024

Arlington, VA – A new poll from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shows an overwhelming number of American workers employed at large organizations believe it’s appropriate to talk about mental health at work and broadly support mental health training in the workplace. The poll, conducted by Ipsos, also finds a knowledge gap in employer-provided mental healthcare coverage, indicating the need for more communication to improve workplace culture.

“This poll shows that, without a doubt, today’s workforce wants their employers to care about their mental health – by talking about it, giving training on it, and providing support for it,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison Jr. “That is why partnerships like NAMI’s StigmaFree Workplace initiative are crucial. To help organizations better support their employees, the StigmaFree Workplace initiative assists employers in raising awareness and education, cultivating a culture of caring, and increasing access to mental health services and supports.

“NAMI is uniquely positioned to support partners, given our experience working with major global corporations, our deep community connections, and our understanding of the value of lived experience,” continued Gillison.

Employees want to talk about mental health, but don’t

While a majority (74%) of employees say it is appropriate to discuss mental health concerns at work, significantly fewer (58%) say they would personally feel comfortable doing so. The most common reasons employees cited for feeling uncomfortable discussing their mental health at work were stigma or judgment, no one else talking about their mental health, and not wanting to seem weak. This gap between the perceived appropriateness of discussing mental health and willingness to personally share about it at work suggests a key disconnect indicating the need for more awareness and education to reduce stigma.

Half of employees feel burned out

Half (52%) of employees say they have felt burned out because of their jobs in the past year. Employees who are less comfortable talking about their mental health at work are more likely to report feeling burnout and their mental health suffering because of work in the past year. The same is true for managers who feel their workplace isn’t giving them the proper resources to discuss mental health with their direct reports. Younger employees under 50 and female employees are more likely to report feeling burned out.

Employees believe mental health training is important – but people managers don’t feel fully equipped

Four in five (83%) employees agree mental health and well-being training is, or would be, important in creating a positive workplace culture. Most also say various types of mental health training would be helpful for mental health support at work.

More than three-quarters of employees say supervisors, HR, and senior leadership should be responsible for helping employees feel comfortable discussing mental health at work (86%, 85%, and 78%, respectively), but 7 in 10 people at the executive or manager/director level have not received training about how to do so. And only about half (51%) say their employer offers or requires mental health and wellbeing trainings, resources or events, showing a significant opportunity for employers to close that gap.

Most employees place employer-sponsored mental health coverage high on the list for a positive workplace culture

An overwhelming majority (92% overall) of respondents, regardless of gender, age, stage in career, or managerial status, share the sentiment that employer-sponsored mental health coverage is, or would be, important for creating a positive workplace culture. However, 1 in 4 say they don’t know if their employer’s health plan even provides mental health coverage, indicating a need for more direct communication about what services are available.

Overall, employees who are offered mental health training or coverage from their employer are more comfortable sharing about their own mental health at work. “We have to do more to create environments that are safe and supportive to address this mental health crisis,” said Gillison.

 

Information on NAMI’s StigmaFree Workplace initiative and how to become a partner.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of the millions of Americans affected by mental health conditions. Join the conversation at Instagram.com/namicommunicate | Twitter.com/namicommunicate | Facebook.com/nami | LinkedIn.com/company/nami |YouTube.com/NAMIvideo | TikTok.com/@nami

This NAMI/Ipsos poll was conducted January 4-9, 2024, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 2,062 general population adults age 18 or older, who are employed full-time and work at a business or company with at least 100 employees. The survey has a margin of error of ± 2.5 percentage points. Learn more about the poll methodology here.