Mental Health Struggles on the Rise: How Employers Can Support Remote and At-Risk Workers
Just last week, U.S. Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania became the latest high-profile example of the crisis, checking himself into a treatment facility for depression.
Since the start of the pandemic, it has been disproportionately affecting certain segments of the population – who are in need of support from their employers.
Anxiety and depression symptoms have decreased overall since the peak of the pandemic in 2020, according to a new study from the Integrated Benefits Institute based on a survey of nearly 500,000 employed Americans. It is the case, however, that symptoms today are more prevalent among remote workers, hybrid workers, and fully in-person workers: 35% for fully in-person workers, 38% for hybrid workers, and 40% for remote workers.
Previous IBI research suggested an array of explanations for increased levels of tension and depression in employees who work from home, according to Director of Research Dr. Candace Nelson. Some of these difficulties included frequent disruption during their day, limitations on time with children or partners, and a general challenge of reconciling managing job responsibilities and personal life. Unsurprisingly, many participants indicated that they lacked a feeling of connection with their peers; approximately one-third mentioned this feeling specifically.
According to the recent IBI report, anxiety and depression rates are higher among women than men, those under 24, lower income workers, and LGBTQ individuals, too.
The problem is being handled by workers in how many ways? Although Americans are slightly more likely to use prescription medications to treat mental health now (22% versus 20% three years ago), 14% report that they need counseling help, but aren’t receiving it, up from 12% a year ago.
This indicates that employers should take action. Nelson proposes that HR teams collaborate with organisations’ heads to enable better access to mental health services, as medical issues such as diabetes and heart problems often go hand in hand with depression and anxiousness. Additionally, she recommends ensuring inclusivity and providing culturally-sensitive support, in addition to tackling misconceptions around workers asking for aid regarding their mental wellbeing — a task which requires a focus on the overall culture.
Nelson argues that HR must lead their organizations to look at mental health “proactively” and develop forward-looking programs to help employees overcome potential stressors on a daily basis, especially for remote and hybrid workers.
In their report, IBI researchers noted that employers are increasingly aware of the mental health crisis and how they can help employees deal with it.
Prior to the pandemic, they said, mental health challenges were becoming increasingly recognized in the workplace. In response to the effects of social isolation, loneliness, prolonged stress, fear and worry, and financial and work instability caused by the pandemic, mental health strategies have reached an all-time high.
How is your organisation supporting it’s employees, and could you utilise Oracle Cloud HCM Benefits to support your employees well being…