Mental Health in the workplace: Global Impact Study

Results from our new international study on mental health for Teladoc Health reveals the true scale of challenges in the workplace – from the magnitude of under-reporting of mental health conditions to what prevents people from seeking the support they need.

The author(s)
  • Reena Sangar Healthcare, UK
Get in touch
  • 82% of those with a diagnosed mental health condition did not confide in workplace management
  • Younger employees report poorer mental health than older age groups across all categories
  • 40% of employees have given a false reason for mental health related time off
  • 40% welcome remote forms of care & 50% want executives to help normalize the mental health conversation

Results of a new international study into workplace mental health reveal the extent to which workplace stigma around the topic is impacting both medical outcomes and employers' bottom lines. The research exposes the true scale of mental health problems in the workplace, the magnitude of under reporting of mental health conditions, and what might be preventing people from seeking the support they need.

The study of 3,894 employees across four major international markets - the US, Canada, Australia and the UK - was conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by Teladoc Health.

The research shows that 82% of employees who have had a mental health diagnosis have kept their difficulties hidden from workplace management, mainly because they feared a negative impact on their career (38%). When offered a range of reasons for not telling their employers, 22% worried that others' professional opinion of them would be tarnished, with 21% saying they felt embarrassed, and 17% believing their capability at work would be questioned. Most concerningly, one in ten (10%) believed that confiding in someone at work about their poor mental health could lead to them losing their job.

Employees say that greater education in the workplace about mental health is needed, along with greater access to the right support. More than four in ten (43%) of employees agree not enough is being done to raise awareness about mental health in their workplace. Over half (55%) agree more should be done in their workplace to improve mental health, with more than a third (38%) saying they would be more productive at work if there was better mental health support.

Crucially, employees want a more frank and transparent approach in their workplace, with 50% agreeing that when executives and leaders talk openly about their mental health at work, it encourages them to feel more comfortable about their own mental health. Furthermore, nearly half of employees (45%) say they would be more likely to seek mental health support when they need it if there were to be more open conversations in their workplace on this topic.

Employees, both with and without a formal diagnosis, are experiencing mental health challenges that affect their wellbeing at work, with younger workers suffering the most, indicative of the growing need for this to be addressed. During a sample period of two weeks, employees reported the following:

Statement 18-25s All ages (18-65)
I often or always feel stressed or anxious at work 41% 30%
I rarely or never feel mentally and emotionally healthy 28% 16%
Mental health symptoms have affected my job performance 61% 38%
I have missed work because of my mental and emotional health 66% 44%

The study shows that over two thirds (67%) of younger workers (18-25s) worry about their mental health, compared to just less than half (48%) of all ages. Diagnosis is also more common in younger workers with 38% saying they have had a mental health diagnosis compared to 27% of all ages, highlighting this as a growing trend that employers need to address.

Of those who have experienced ­poor mental health in the past and received support, one of the most effective solutions for feeling better was having access to professional mental health support through their workplace (71%). Furthermore, 43% of respondents who selected stigma as a reason for not confiding in someone at work want remote forms of mental health care.

On behalf of Teladoc Health, Ipsos interviewed n=3894 participants online. The study was carried out across 4 countries with n=1000 interviewed in US, n=1000 in UK, n=964 in Canada and n=930 in Australia. All participants were adults aged between 18-65 & in full or part-time employment. Quotas based on census data available were set for age, gender and region in order that the sample reflects the known profile of the working population in each country. We excluded "freelancer" and "self-employed" adults to focus on workplace employees. The quota limits for region in USA and UK were eventually removed during the final week of fieldwork so that overall target of n=1000 in these countries could be met. Fieldwork took place between August 12th, 2019 to September 13th, 2019.
The author(s)
  • Reena Sangar Healthcare, UK

More insights about Health