May 5, 2021

Nearly half of adults report pandemic-related mental health conditions.


Employers are uniquely positioned to strengthen mental health support and allay worker concerns, anxieties, and uncertainty.

Americans’ mental health declined over the past year of lockdowns and life disruptions, and rates of depression and anxiety remain high even as the country begins to reopen. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study found about half of adults (47%) continue to report negative mental health impacts related to worry or stress from the pandemic, with women and younger Americans reporting the highest stress burdens. That’s more than double the pre-pandemic rate.

The country's mental health crisis harms the economy. Each year, employee mental health conditions cost employers more than $100 billion and 217 million workdays. Over one quarter of the American workforce (29%) described itself as “depressed” due to the pandemic, according to Gartner. Stress and worry about contracting the virus, coupled with job losses, loss of childcare, as well as the devastating loss of loved ones due to COVID-19 are just a few ways in which the pandemic may be having an effect on mental health. Millennials make up the largest workforce generation in America. They are also disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 mental health stressors. A survey published last week by Aetna reveals nearly half of young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 (43%) are concerned about their mental health, and seven-in-ten Millennials (72%) and Gen-Zers (68%) say pandemic-related financial stress is a growing challenge to their mental wellbeing.  

Business leaders can support workers dealing with mental health challenges by thinking beyond the end of lockdowns and social distancing. Join us tomorrow (Thursday, May 6) for a special employer briefing designed to help you take concrete actions to raise awareness and improve mental health outcomes for your employees and workers.

Below we've compiled a list of impactful actions your business can take to support mental health and wellness among employees during this challenging time.

Supporting Mental Health & Wellness in the Workplace

Start the conversation about mental health.

May 20 is Mental Health Action Day, a perfect moment to start your workplace conversation about employee mental health. We've created an Employers Brief to help you better understand how to maximize your role in empowering employees to make informed choices about their mental health and wellness.

Understand the dos and don'ts of mental health care.

Discussing mental health can be a sensitive topic, and it's important to lead conversations from a position of empathy. We've published a list of Mental Health Action Day Do's and Don'ts to help keep your workplace discussions productive and respectful.

Review the latest CDC COVID-19 Mental Health & Wellness resources.

Public health actions such as social distancing are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. They can also make us feel isolated and can increase stress and anxiety. Share the CDC's COVID-19 Anxiety and Coping resources to help your coworkers and your loved ones become more resilient during this crisis.

Encourage employees to take time off for self-care.

The Society for Human Resource Management found that nearly half (48%) of employees report feeling mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the workday. Disruptions to regular work schedules have worsened that fatigue. Increase opportunities for workers to pursue self-care by offering paid time off for mental health support.

Share the SAFER Mental Health Playbook with your human resource professionals.

Our partners the National Safety Council published the SAFER Mental Health Playbook to provide employees with the support they need to return to work. It includes resources for leadership and supervisors, guidance for human resources departments, and helpful educational support for impacted workers.