- Employers could do more to reduce the stigma around mental health, according to the majority of workers responding to a recent Unum survey. Seventy percent of respondents said employers could improve their efforts, particularly year-round.
- More than half of those surveyed said they felt mentally unwell during the past year, pointing to several barriers to care, including cost.
- Nearly one-third also said their employer doesn’t do a good job of promoting mental health resources or offerings, according to the results released last week.
During May — Mental Health Awareness Month — many employers took steps to promote their benefits and resources aimed at mental well-being. The Boldt Co., a construction company, took the opportunity to highlight its peer-to-peer suicide and mental health awareness program, for example.
The U.S. Department of Labor also marked the awareness month by reminding employers that the Family and Medical Leave Act may entitle workers to unpaid leave for mental health treatment. “While many people coping with mental illness may face barriers to treatment including social stigmas, a lack of available services or financial resources, the U.S. Department of Labor is determined to ensure that obtaining job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act is not another obstacle to overcome when workers seek the mental health support they need,” the agency said in a statement at the time.
Employers hoping to boost workforce mental health may need to take additional steps to reduce stigma at work and go beyond an annual reminder about the benefits available to workers, as workers in the Unum survey indicated. Benefits communication should take various forms, stakeholders have previously suggested, and can be offered at various points throughout the year.