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New SHRM Foundation Survey Finds HR Professionals Recognize Importance of Workplace Mental Health, but Lack Resources




ALEXANDRIA, Va. America is facing a workplace mental health crisis, with burnout, exhaustion and hopelessness more common among workers than ever before. A new survey, Mental Health in America: A 2022 Workplace Report, from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and SHRM Foundation, in collaboration with Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Otsuka), found that 94 percent of HR professionals believe that by offering mental health resources, organizations can improve the overall health of employees. 

More than 3,400 human resources professionals, across a variety of industries, in U.S. organizations with 10 or more employees participated in the survey. About one in five (21 percent) respondents working for organizations that don't offer mental health benefits say their organizations don't have the resources to address mental health, while another 21 percent of respondents believe it's too expensive to act.

As the pandemic crystallized mental health issues in unprecedented ways, employers began to take mental health seriously. Nearly 78 percent of organizations surveyed currently offer workplace mental health resources or plan to offer such resources in the next year. However, while mental health has become a priority for most organizations, it is not necessarily a top priority. Less than one-third of HR professionals (32 percent) in this survey claim offering mental health resources is a "high priority" for their organization, while another 41 percent of HR professionals indicate it is a "medium priority."

"It is clear that the need to establish mental health as a top priority within our organizations is essential," said SHRM Foundation President Wendi Safstrom. "We must act now if we wish to create a world of work that that allows both employers and employees to thrive and lead healthy, productive organizations."

Other key findings include:

  • 86 percent of HR professionals indicate that offering mental health resources can increase employee retention, and 72 percent believe such resources attract new talent.
  • HR professionals in the healthcare sector (61 percent) are most likely to indicate that their staff experience more mental health struggles than other industries, in large part due to pandemic-induced stress at work.
  • Other industries, such as the nonprofit sector (47 percent); government/public administration/military (41 percent); and education (39 percent) claim their employees are more likely to experience mental health issues than other industries.
  • 88 percent of HR professionals believe offering mental health resources can increase productivity. 

The survey also found that a focus on mental health is good for business. Nearly 9 in 10 HR professionals (88 percent) believe offering mental health resources can increase productivity, while 78 percent say offering such resources can boost organizational return on investment.

"We're pleased to collaborate with SHRM and SHRM Foundation to shed light on the important role employers can play in supporting their employees' mental well-being," said Angela Colon-Mahoney, vice president of people & business services, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. "As a mental healthcare company Otsuka takes a forward-thinking approach to building community and reducing stigma. That commitment starts internally with a number of employee programs ranging from our peer-to-peer mental wellness group to our mental health first aid program."

In 2021, the SHRM Foundation launched the Workplace Mental Health and Wellness initiative to help eliminate mental health stigma in the workplace and foster an organizational culture where mental health can be discussed openly. The initiative is designed to help organizations build a more complete approach to employee wellness and includes a platform for thought leadership that supports mental health and resources. Last year, the SHRM Foundation also launched the first-ever Workplace Mental Health and Wellness Summit with another slated this fall at SHRM/SHRM Foundation's Visionaries Summit in October 2022.

Methodology: 

SHRM Member Sample

The 2022 Mental Health Workplace Benefits study was conducted from January 4 through January 24, 2022. Online surveys were conducted with a sample of 1,783 adults who are members of SHRM. Respondents were required to be SHRM members who work in human resources at organizations with 10 or more employees. Respondents represented organizations of all sizes—from 10 to more than 25,000 employees—in a wide variety of industries across the United States.

Non-SHRM Member Sample

The 2022 Mental Health Workplace Benefits study was conducted from January 4 through January 24, 2022. Online surveys were conducted with a sample of 1,629 adults who were not members of SHRM. Respondents were required to work in human resources at organizations with 10 or more employees. Respondents represented organizations of all sizes—from 10 to more than 25,000 employees—in a wide variety of industries across the United States.

About SHRM

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at SHRM.org and on Twitter @SHRM.

About SHRM Foundation

Founded in 1966 the SHRM Foundation is the 501c (3) philanthropic arm of the world's largest HR professional society, SHRM. SHRM represents more than 300,000 HR professionals across the globe, impacting 115 million workers and their families. The SHRM Foundation mobilizes the power of HR for positive social change in the workplace. Its robust programming and resources, meaningful partnerships, and evidenced-based research are educating and empowering HR professionals to hire diverse talent, build inclusive workplaces, prioritize workplace mental health and wellness, develop skills, equip young people to pursue a career in HR and help employees find purpose at work and beyond. Learn more at shrmfoundation.org.

About Otsuka

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a global healthcare company with the corporate philosophy: "Otsuka–people creating new products for better health worldwide." Otsuka researches, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative products, with a focus on pharmaceutical products to meet unmet medical needs and nutraceutical products for the maintenance of everyday health.

In pharmaceuticals, Otsuka is a leader in the challenging areas of mental, renal, and cardiovascular health and has additional research programs in oncology and on several under-addressed diseases including tuberculosis, a significant global public health issue. These commitments illustrate how Otsuka is a "big venture" company at heart, applying a youthful spirit of creativity in everything it does.

Otsuka established a presence in the U.S. in 1973, and today, its U.S. affiliates include Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. (OPDC) and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (OAPI). These two companies' 1,700 employees in the U.S. develop and commercialize medicines in the areas of mental health, nephrology, and cardiology, using cutting-edge technology to address unmet healthcare needs.

OPDC and OAPI are indirect subsidiaries of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The Otsuka group of companies employs more than 47,000 people worldwide and has consolidated sales of approximately $13.3 billion.

All Otsuka stories start by taking the road less traveled. Learn more about Otsuka in the U.S. at www.otsuka-us.com and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter at @OtsukaUS. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.'s global website is accessible at www.otsuka.co.jp/en/.

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