Mental Health Support Not Yet the Norm for American Workers

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Jon Weiner

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Mental Health Support Not Yet the Norm for American Workers

Less than half of working Americans say their employer offers any kind of mental health support

Raleigh, N.C. (November 6, 2014) – Mental illness affects about 1 in 4 Americans each year. It’s a leading cause of absenteeism and reduced productivity that costs businesses hundreds of millions in lost revenue annually. But according to the results of a new national survey, employers that provide mental health support for employees are not yet the norm in the U.S.

A new poll commissioned by Workplace Options, the world’s leading employee well-being provider, found that 42 percent of Americans said their employers had no support structures or programs in place to help employees deal with mental health issues like stress, anxiety, or depression. Just 47 percent said their employers had any kind of emotional well-being support available, while 11 percent had no idea what their employer offered.

“This survey shows that most Americans either don’t have or don’t know about emotional support programs available through their employer – and I’m not sure which is worse,” said Dean Debnam, Workplace Options’ chief executive officer. “The reality is that mental health issues are a much more serious problem than the business community believes. For employers in other parts of the world, mental health and emotional support for employees is a given. We haven’t reached that point yet in the U.S.”

Mental Health Issues, Workplace Absences, and Schedule Changes

More than 1 in 3 working Americans (37 percent) reported that they have dealt with a mental illness impacting them or a family member during the course of their career. And 45 percent reported that they work with at least one colleague or co-worker that has done the same.

Even more interesting for employers is that 63 percent of those who said they had personally dealt with mental health issues missed work because of it – with 40 percent saying they missed several full days, a week, or more.

“When employees are dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and other forms of mental illness, it’s difficult for them to do their job effectively,” Debnam said. “These issues impact people, profits, and operations. When 45 percent of employees that deal with mental health problems have to change their work schedule because of what they’re going through, it’s a sign to the business community that this issue is worthy of some serious attention.”

About the Poll

The poll was conducted by the polling research firm Public Policy Polling from August 26-27 and is based on responses from 524 working Americans. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percent. Full results are available HERE.

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About Workplace Options

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive people and professionals. The company’s physical, emotional, and practical employee well-being services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness coaching.

Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support services and work-life provider. Global service centers in North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Canada, Panama, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Japan, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom support more than 46 million employees in over 34,000 organizations across 200 countries and territories. To learn more, visit