Although Millennials and Generation Z are often jeeringly marked with a preoccupation with mental illness the only novel addition to the crisis is the conversation, not the conditions themselves. Epidemiological evidence indicates that 80% of the population will develop some form of psychological malady in their lifetime, even if the lion share goes undiagnosed. Thankfully literature and research published in the last few decades have liberated our limited appraisal of wellness. There are still many miles left to go, but a healthy index of anecdotes encourages us to appreciate any interest in the expedition at all. As it stands, the illness struggles to shed its stigma while $16.8 billion dollars in employee productivity are devoured in its wake.
With these meditations in mind, a new survey conducted by Mind Share Partners offers a sobering insight into mental health in the workforce.
Diversity, equity, and conclusion
The experts recruited 1,500 Americans 16 years of age and older that were employed at companies with at least 11 employees. According to the paper published in Harvard Business Review, 60% of workers have experienced symptoms of depression in the past year alone and 75% of Millenials and Gen Zers specifically decided to quit their job as a result of them. Baby Boomers were found to be the least likely to report depression and the ones that did were the least likely to seek company assistance. Unlike previous generations, younger Americans appear to be unaffected by the taboo surrounding the subject.
“Mental health is something they’re used to talking about freely. All of a sudden they get into the workplace and they’re not supposed to talk about it,” CEO and founder of Mind Share Partners, Kelly Greenwood, said in a statement to CNBC Make it.
Age was not the only factor signaling increased instances of depressive symptoms. Minorities were 50% more likely to both evidence the conditions and voluntarily leave their job on their behalf compared to respondents of caucasian descent. Collectively, just about 200 million workdays are forfeited because of mental sickness, yet less than half of the participants believed that their company prioritized mental health. To this Greenwood and her coauthors, Vivek Bapat and Mike Maughan added in the report: “This needs to change. Mental health is becoming the next frontier of diversity and inclusion, and employees want their companies to address it. Eighty-six percent of our respondents thought that a company’s culture should support mental health. This percentage was even higher for Millennials and Gen Zers, who have higher turnover rates and are the largest demographic in the workforce,”
Sixty percent of all the respondents suffering felt too self-conscious to bring it up to their coworkers and even more felt uncomfortable divulging to their senior leaders and HR executives, both of which were just as likely to struggle with the very same conditions. In order to repudiate this trend of silence, the authors recommend companies invest in systemic policy alterations starting at the very top. This includes financing training programs informing team leaders about the myriad of depressive prodromes, supplying the same benefits for sick employees regardless of the disease’s nature and implicating an open dialogue for workers to confide whatever they need to. Sixty-one percent of respondents said that their mental health had a direct impact on their productivity and an additional 37% said that their workplace environment affected their overall temperament.
The authors conclude with the following, “The good news is that change is possible. It starts with acknowledging the equal prevalence of mental health conditions from the C-suite to the front lines, changing organizational culture, introducing proper training and support, and addressing mental health as a standalone DEI issue.”