Health and Wellness

49% of workers fear repercussions for being open about their mental health at work


A good deal of the American workforce feels uncomfortable sharing the state of their mental health with their bosses, according to a recent survey conducted by Modern Health and Forrester Consulting.

Through an online survey, which began in June 2022, Forrester polled 1,207 employees and over 500 human resource leaders and C-level executives at different organizations throughout the U.S.

The goal of the survey was to determine how employees and employers feel about their company's mental health resources.

Only 51% of employees polled feel that their role would not be affected if their mental health status was revealed. While 49% of workers worry that sharing how they're feeling mentally could lead to repercussions including the loss of a job.

The results of the survey reveal the disconnect between how employers believe their workers are supported at work when it comes to mental health benefits and what employees actually feel. 

The wide gap between employer and employee sentiment

Over 70% of work executives think their employees felt they promote a healthy work-life balance and encourage paid time off, including any days employees might need to cater to their mental health.

But only 53% of members of the workforce feel encouraged to use their PTO and even less feel supported to take time off for mental health needs, including therapy (46%).

And while 85% of employers believe that they actively listen to the needs of their workers, their employees hardly agree (51%). 

According to the survey, many employers are viewing the investment in mental health resources as a major loss of income, as employees work fewer hours to seek out mental health resources or are less available to respond to work emails.

Here's what various executives surveyed believe:

  • Their employees expect too much mental health support (74%)
  • Offering mental health benefits is too costly (71%)
  • Mental health benefits should not be a priority current day because they weren't offered in this capacity in the past (69%)

But it is clear that mental health benefits are critical for employees to feel supported at work.

When the employers surveyed were asked how much of the workforce engaged with their benefits, they noted mental health benefits were the most utilized, after health insurance and fertility benefits.

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