February 23, 2024

Stress in America: New Insights for Your Business

Stephen Massey
Director, Health Action Alliance

The American Psychological Association’s annual survey points to current worries and a strong need for support.

Employers who have welcomed their teams back to the office have found many of those workers showing signs of stress and anxiety. For some, the source is the return to the office itself and grappling with fears of getting infected at work or on public transit, juggling caretaking responsibilities, or navigating new and tentative social interactions. 

But for many workers, their sources of stress run deeper—and are about more than a readjustment to office life. For employers, understanding what’s causing stress can help provide the support that will keep your teams thriving and productive.

The American Psychological Association’s 2022 Stress in America survey offers valuable insight into what’s on employees’ minds and some of the troubling trends into how people are coping:

  • Four in five Americans identified as significant sources of stress: the rise in prices of everyday items (87%), supply chain issues (81%), global uncertainty (81%) and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and potential retaliation (80%) 

  • 47% of adults have been less active than they wanted to be since the pandemic started.

  • More than one in five Americans have been drinking more alcohol.

  • Half of adults, particularly essential workers, have not been able to see loved ones in person since the pandemic’s start.

The APA’s Stress in America survey also found that 77% of Americans identified a need for more emotional support. 

“Americans have been doing their best to persevere over these past two tumultuous years, but these data suggest that we’re now reaching unprecedented levels of stress that will challenge our ability to cope,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, APA’s chief executive officer.

Barriers to accessing professional care may be standing between your employees and the help they need. Among those interested in receiving professional treatment, two in five said they’re deterred by:

  • Access-related issues such as location, timing or provider capacity (45%)
  • Costs, including copays and insurance coverage (39%)

Employers can provide the support employees need—and benefit from greater productivity and retention—in three key ways:

  1. Creating a positive, psychologically safe workplace culture.
  2. Improving access to quality mental health benefits and treatment options. 
  3. Centering equity in your workplace mental health strategy.

Leaders from the business community will share details on each of these themes at the Workplace Mental Health Action Summit on Thursday, May 5. Attendees will be the first to receive a suite of employer resources to help them take action. Register today!