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Workers say employers haven't followed through on mental health promises

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Posted at 3:44 PM, Oct 27, 2021

More companies have been making commitments during the pandemic to help employees with their mental health, but a growing number of workers are still feeling burned out and feel like their companies aren't doing enough.

A recent survey from behavioral health care company Talkspace found 67% of workers who are considering leaving their job say their employers haven't followed through on pandemic promises to focus on employee mental health.

But the survey also found workers may not be fully aware of the benefits available, or they may not feel comfortable taking advantage of certain benefits.

“It's not things like stigma or even accessibility that's the challenge. People feel that, I don't know what's going to help me and I don't think that what I’m getting is going to help, you know, what I’m seeing out there is going to help me,” said Tara Thiagarajan, Ph.D., the founder of Sapien Labs.

Thiagarajan is with Sapien Labs, a nonprofit that tracks mental well-being. She says burnout may be the end result, but companies need to solve the underlying stressors first.

Examples include the emphasis on being "always on at work,” or not having good options for childcare.

“It’s not going to be just throw an app out there or, you know, make text therapy available on demand or something. It's really about saying, you know, what's driving this sort of downward spiral of mental well-being. And this is not just, I mean, yes, the pandemic is exacerbated tremendously, but I think, you know, even prior to the pandemic, we weren't on a trajectory in the right direction,” said Thiagarajan.

Thiagarajan says there isn't a simple solution, and it is going to be different for every organization.

A recent survey from the American Psychological Association found if employees could have only one extra perk at work, a third would want more money.