Mental Health Stigma Inhibits Employees

Morgan O'Rourke


August 2, 2021

Three figures in white lab coats working on a giant head and placing a heart with a medical cross in its brain.

According to a recent study by The Hartford, 70% of employers recognize that employee mental health is a significant workplace issue and 31% said the strain on employee mental health is having a severe or significant financial impact on their company. What’s more, 72% of employers report that the stigma associated with mental illness prevents workers from seeking help. While most employers have become more supportive of employee mental health initiatives, perceptions differ between the two groups on how effective those efforts have been—79% of employers said they have an open and inclusive environment that encourages a dialogue about mental health, but only 52% of workers agreed.

 To help foster a more supportive workplace, The Hartford suggested that employers provide mental health training to managers and senior leaders that includes information about mental illnesses, potential warning signs and guidelines to avoid stigmatizing language. Companies should also offer an employee assistance program, as well as sleep management, mindfulness or other programs that help improve mental and physical health. In addition, they should communicate often about benefits and programs that support overall well-being so employees know how to access these resources when needed.

Morgan O’Rourke is editor in chief of Risk Management and director of publications for the Risk & Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS)