Posted March 17, 2020 by Mark Perna
Millennials and Gen-Z want workplace cultures that fully address the issue of mental health. Mark’s article, “Younger Workers Take Mental Health Seriously—And Employers Should, Too,” published at Forbes.com on March 10, 2020.
These days, Millennials are being called the “anxious generation.” And according to a recent survey by Business Insider, they’re also “lonely, burned out and depressed.” Half of Millennials, along with 75% of Gen-Zers, have left a job for mental health reasons. Moreover, burnout—now classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an occupational phenomenon—is affecting a wide swath of younger workers as they deal with increasing workloads and on-the-job stress, not to mention the rise in 24/7 workplace connectivity.
Additionally, as the first generation to grow up with the Internet and social media, Millennials in particular are battling unique pressures and insecurities. As one mental health blogger observes, “The world is at Millennials’ fingertips, but they also feel its immense weight.”
But there’s good news, too. Millennials aren’t just the anxious generation. They’re also the “therapy generation”—unafraid to confront their mental health struggles and seek help.Millennials aren’t just the anxious generation. They’re also the “therapy generation”—unafraid to confront their mental health struggles and seek help. Click To Tweet
According to Zapier’s recent Digital Natives Report, more than three-quarters of Millennials (78%) and Gen-Zers (77%) say that the ability to discuss mental health openly at work is important to them. What’s more, the vast majority (85% and 91%, respectively) think that employers should have a mental health policy in place. All to say, when it comes to mental health, younger workers want more than talk—they want action.
In addition to hurting workers’ well-being, mental health issues like anxiety, depression and addiction also take a major toll on a company’s bottom line. But here’s more good news: A recent WHO-led workplace study estimates that for every $1 put into scaled-up treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity.
To realize those benefits, and to attract and retain mental-health-minded Millennials and Gen-Zers, employers must act proactively and purposefully. Here are five ways to do it at your company.
It’s time to promote workplace cultures that address mental health proactively and purposefully. Millennials know it. Gen-Zers know it. Now it’s up to the rest of us to know it.