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Mental health support increasing, but workers still struggle

May 16, 2022

The availability of organizational programs to support employee well-being has significantly increased in just the last year, a new survey led by Conference Board reveals. But that still doesn’t mean effectiveness.

“The increased focus on mental health and well-being in the workplace may be one of the pandemic’s lasting legacies,” said Rebecca Ray, Ph.D. Executive Vice President, Human Capital, The Conference Board. “In just the last year, organizations offering programs to support emotional well-being increased 22 percent. But this survey reveals that more can and should be done to address mental health. That starts by addressing the disconnect between the support organizations offer, and what workers actually find helpful.”

According to the report, 86% of organizations researched have formal policies like paid time off, parental leave, and flexibility to support well-being, up from 65% in April 2021. 

88% of organizations offered programs that support emotional well-being, but only 29% of respondents found them helpful. Activities for social wellness and belonging (celebrations, retreats, virtual coffee hours) were the second-most helpful programs (37%) but were only available at 67% of organizations.

The survey also highlights important worker disparities for HR executives to consider: gender, generation, seniority level, and even work location can factor into mental health concerns. For example, while  of workers overall worry about the impact of workplace bias and microaggressions on their mental health, these concerns are even greater for women and individual contributors.

“As workers continue to struggle with their well-being, organizations should consider embracing new and innovative solutions to support them,” said Dr. Srini Pillay, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at Reulay, Inc. and former head of the Outpatient Anxiety Disorders Program at Harvard Medical School’s McLean Hospital. “Underutilized programs like virtual therapeutic platforms and training to build resilience can offer new ways to both reduce stress and increase productivity.”

Source: Conference Board