New Study from The Hartford flags employee mental health issues

 

New research from The Hartford, a leading provider of workers’ compensation and disability insurance, finds 71% of employers feel the deteriorating mental health of their workforce is having a negative financial impact on their company. In addition, 34% of U.S. workers reported feeling depressed or anxious at least once per week in 2022 – up from 20% in 2020.

As employers’ productivity-related concerns grew, the number of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), wellness benefits, and addiction treatment programs being offered by employers dropped between 2020 to 2022, according to The Hartford’s 2022 Future of Benefits Study, which polled U.S. workers and human resource benefit decision-makers. For example: 54% of employers offered an EAP in March 2020, compared to 30% in February 2022.

“Our data shows an undeniable, direct correlation between employee mental well-being, mental health support, and the impact to a company’s bottom line,” said The Hartford’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift. “Employers who want a contemporary, inclusive workplace that supports its people should proactively invest in mental health, with an eye to empathy and equity. The need is real, and the time is now.”

Swift has been a vocal advocate for public-private partnerships to address mental health and addiction in the workplace. He will discuss the financial, economic, and personal benefits of investing in mental health during a panel discussion titled “Mental Health in ESG: Increasing Employer Value and Impact” at the 25th Annual Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday, May 2 at 2:30 p.m. EDT. The discussion will be livestreamed on the Milken Institute’s website.

Supporting Mental Health

The Hartford’s national survey shows U.S. employers think they’re supporting mental health, while U.S. workers feel companies are falling short on access, flexibility, and resources:

  • 82% of employers said their workforce has more access to mental health resources than in previous years, compared to 50% of workers;
  • 80% of employers said workers have flexibility in their schedule to get the mental health help they need, compared to 53% of workers; and
  • 79% of employers said mental health had improved thanks to the company’s resources, compared to 35% of workers.

This disconnect extends into substance misuse and addiction. Two-thirds of employers feel substance misuse and addiction is a significant workplace issue, a 30% jump since March 2020. While 72% of employers acknowledged stigma prevents individuals from seeking treatment, U.S. workers do not feel business leaders are taking appropriate action to dispel stigma:

  • 82% of employers said they have an open and inclusive environment that inspires dialogue about mental health, compared to 48% of workers who agree; and
  • 81% of employers said leadership at their company encourages conversations about mental health, compared to 48% of workers who agree.

The Hartford also announced today it is renewing its partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Together, the organizations are producing research, events, and initiatives to help leaders understand how to create stigma-free organizations and support Americans’ mental health. During the month of May—Mental Health Awareness Month—The Hartford will match donations to NAMI, up to $200,000.

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