Etc.: Destigmatizing Mental Health in the Workplace

Despite the fact that, because of the pandemic, companies began acknowledging the need to provide mental health services for employees, a stigma still surrounds mental health in the workplace, according to a recent survey.

Nearly a third of women have taken a mental health day or time off for mental health reasons, yet only a quarter felt comfortable sharing with their employers the real reason for their absence, according to Deloitte’s Women @ Work 2023 study. That’s down from 39 percent of women who felt comfortable disclosing mental health absences a year ago.

Those findings may not be so surprising considering that only 25 percent of women said they were comfortable talking about mental health in general in the workplace, down from 43 percent in 2022.

This is how women assessed their own mental health:

• More than half—56 percent—said their mental health was a concern.

• Only 43 percent rated their mental wellbeing as “good” or “extremely good.”

• Half—51 percent—said their stress levels are higher than they were a year ago.

The study found that company leaders can do more to show their concern for employees’ mental health and well-being: only 40 percent of respondents (5,000 working women in 10 countries) said they get adequate mental health support from their employer.

To help support the mental well-being of all, Deloitte recommends that employers take these steps:

  Create opportunities for employees to share lived experiences.

• Let employees know that “it’s OK to not be OK.”

• Provide employees with access to professional support.

—Tamara E. Holmes

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