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May 10, 2023

National Employer Summit Calls Attention to Surging Mental Health Crisis Among Gen Z Workers

Health Action Alliance gathers over 1,000 business leaders to explore the next generation of workplace mental health

LOS ANGELES, May 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- In conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month (May), the Health Action Alliance (HAA) hosted its highly-anticipated second annual Workplace Mental Health Action Summit on May 4, 2023 with over 1,000 attendees from across the nation in a virtual gathering to address "The Next Generation of Workplace Mental Health."

Featuring top-level speakers from industry giants such as Citigroup, Paramount, and the American Psychological Association, among others, this year's Summit focused on cultivating mental health initiatives that specifically support Gen Z employees. The event offered insights and solutions for businesses to deepen their commitment to mental health in the workplace. The Summit was hosted in partnership with the Ad Council, the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, Mental Health Action Day and the National Safety Council, with additional support from the American Psychological Association and One Mind At Work.

Keynote speaker Bob Pragada, CEO of Jacobs, shared his deeply personal story of how family mental health struggles inspired him to create a workplace culture without stigma. He encouraged attendees to create "an environment where people can acknowledge and be sensitive and aware when others are having a challenge" and "make it okay to allow people to not be okay."

Other expert speakers included Pattie Gould, Global Head of Total Rewards at Citigroup; Shalin Kothari, VP, People & DEI Strategy at Schneider Electric North America; Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President, Social Impact Strategy at Paramount Global; Christina McCarthy, Executive Director of One Mind at Work; Morra Aarons-Mele, author of The Anxious Achiever; Jason Morgan, Global Health & Well-being Lead at Splunk; Dr. Lauren Smith, Chief Health Equity and Strategy Officer at the CDC Foundation; and Dr. Dennis Stolle, Senior Director of Applied Psychology at the American Psychological Association.

Recent studies have shown that 79% of employees expect their employer to play a meaningful role in supporting their health. With nearly half of Gen Z workers reporting signs of stress and depression – higher than any other generation – employers know that meeting the needs of Gen Z workers is a critical priority for the health of the entire workforce. As Dr. Dennis Stolle from the American Psychological Association noted, "Gen Z is showing up to work with a different set of expectations than past generations," highlighting the importance of proactive mental health support in the workplace.

The Summit was the official employer activation event for Mental Health Action Day (May 18), a movement powered by MTV that unites over 1,800 brands, nonprofits, and government agencies to take action on mental health. HAA serves as the lead employer partner for the initiative, and provides an array of planning tools to help companies inspire action among their workforce and communities.

"One Mind at Work was honored to participate in this year's Workplace Mental Health Action Summit to bring greater awareness to the importance of mental health in the workplace, and to drive collective action with the goal of improving mental health for the global workforce," said Christina McCarthy, Executive Director of One Mind at Work.

"While the emergency declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic is ending, data shows significant mental health impacts on today's workforce will stay with us. This trend is particularly acute for Gen Z workers, and will have lasting consequences for employers. Business leaders who recognize and address mental health in the workplace can gain a strategic advantage in attracting and retaining top talent, enhancing productivity, and fostering innovation," added HAA Executive Director Mark SooHoo.

In conjunction with this year's Summit, HAA also released a full suite of free resources for business leaders, including a comprehensive Workplace Mental Health Playbook to help employers create or strengthen a culture of psychological safety, center equity in their workplace mental health strategy and improve access to mental health benefits and treatment. Other resources include a conversation guide for managers, checklists for HR leaders and benefits administrators, and tools to fight stigma and create supportive environments for open conversations about mental health in the workplace. All of HAA's free employer resources and a recording of the event are available at

About the Health Action Alliance

Health Action Alliance (HAA) is the country's largest private sector network operating at the intersection of business and public health – dedicated to supporting business leaders as they invest in healthier businesses and stronger communities. HAA offers free tools, training and events to more than 6,000 employers who collectively employ more than 32 million workers. We help employers navigate emerging health crises, improve health equity and make informed decisions to strengthen the health of their workforce and the communities where they operate. Created in 2021, HAA is a joint initiative of the Ad Council, the CDC Foundation and the de Beaumont Foundation – in partnership with Meteorite. To join the network and access our free resources and events, visit

About Mental Health Action Day

Mental Health Action Day is a movement to shift the culture of mental health from awareness to action. The third annual Mental Health Action Day will take place on Thursday May 18, 2023. This year, Mental Health Action Day asks its partner network, "What if everyone dedicated one hour to take action for their mental health?" Join the movement as an official partner at and encourage your network to take one hour of action for themselves, their loved ones or their communities.

SOURCE Health Action Alliance