According to a large national survey, four in 10 Americans say their job has had a negative effect on their mental well-being.
Seven percent reported “extremely” negative effects on their mental health, while 33 percent said their job had a “somewhat” negative effect.
Young workers, ages 18 to 29, were most likely to have poor mental health because of their jobs, with nearly half of them affected.
Meanwhile, only three in ten employees reported an extremely positive (seven percent) or ‘somewhat’ positive (23 percent) impact.
It comes after a Harvard report found that the selfie-obsessed generation of the US was costing the economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
The last questionnaire was conducted by analytics company Gallup and received responses from nearly 16,000 working adults in the US. But the findings reflect a much broader population. The US workforce is approximately 160 million people.
Young and female workers were more likely to report poorer mental health than other groups in the workforce. Women were 23 percent more likely to report poor or fair mental health than men at 15 percent.
“As such, working women under the age of 30 bear the greatest burden of fair or poor mental health (36 percent) across all age-by-gender subgroups,” Gallup said.
About a third of male and female workers under 30 reported fair or poor mental health, compared with 11 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and 9 percent of those over 65.
Four in 10 U.S. workers report that their job has an extremely negative (7 percent) or slightly negative (33 percent) impact on their mental health, compared with three in 10 who have an extremely positive (7 percent) or slightly positive (23 percent) effect. percent) impact.
Female employees are more likely than their male colleagues to report poor or fair mental health. Working women under the age of 30 bear the greatest burden of fair or poor mental health (36 percent) across all age subgroups by gender.
Employees in fair or poor mental health were on average 12 absentees per year, compared to 2.5 days for all other employees, at a high cost to the economy – about $47.6 billion per year in lost productivity.
The positive mental health effects reported by older adults may reflect career advancement, a shift to more rewarding work, or work of choice rather than necessity.
The survey did not ask employees what specifically about their job negatively impacted their mental health.
Selfie Generation ‘Costs US Economy $800 BILLION a Year,’ Harvard Report Says
Harvard University researchers found that the selfie-obsessed generation in the US is driving costs up through things like lack of productivity and increased use of healthcare.
They estimate that $84 billion is lost in the workplace alone, for example by taking sick days to take care of their physical health and appearance.
The country’s growing obsession with appearance leads to more cases of anxiety, suicide, eating disorders, substance abuse and smoking
They say the economy is hit hardest by what they call “appearance-based discrimination” — when someone is judged by race, weight, or haircut.
The report, which was conducted as part of the Dove Self-Esteem Project, attributed $501 billion in annual losses to discrimination based on appearance.
Low self-esteem and body image problems have been linked to an increased number of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
The American Psychiatric Association estimates that unresolved symptoms of depression make an employee 35 percent less productive than their peers.
Up to nine percent of Americans will also suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime, caused primarily by dissatisfaction with the appearance of the body, reports the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.
Poor mental health among the workforce is a harbinger for the economy. According to Gallup, the cost of a missed workday is estimated at $340 per day for full-time workers and $170 per day for part-time workers.
Employees with “fair” or “poor” mental health were found to take an average of about 12 unplanned days off annually, which, when extrapolated to the entire workforce, cost the economy nearly $48 billion in lost productivity.
Mental health problems among the workforce became starkly evident in the early days of the Covid pandemic, when a forced shift to remote work coupled with isolation and fear of the new circulating pathogen put pressure on many businesses and the people who worked there.
The onset of the pandemic also brought widespread closures of schools and daycare centers, putting pressure on adults to maintain normal working hours while looking after children and maintaining a work-life balance.
Employee mental health has become a higher priority in recent years with a growing number of large companies expanding their employee coverage for mental health services.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 39 percent of major employers have updated their health insurance plans since the start of the Covid pandemic to expand access to mental health services. last spring, about 23 percent of U.S. workers reported that their employers had introduced new mental wellness tools since the start of the pandemic.
The Biden administration has also raised the issue of mental wellbeing in the labor market. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released the Framework for Mental Health & Well-Being in the Workplace last month, which aims to help companies build their mental health infrastructure to keep employees healthy.
Dr Murthy said: ‘As we recover from the worst of the pandemic, we have the opportunity and the power to make workplaces engines for mental health and wellbeing.’
“It requires organizations to rethink how they protect employees from harm, foster a sense of belonging among employees, show employees they matter, make room for their lives outside of work and support their growth,” he added.
“It will be worth it, because the benefits will extend to employees and organizations alike.”