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SHRM Research Shows Generational Mental Health Divide

Research explores how the workplace impacts workers’ mental health and how employers can address employees’ needs.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Today, SHRM released its 2023 State of Mental Health & Well-Being in the Workplace research in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May. This data builds off of 2022 research commissioned by the SHRM Foundation examines workplace mental health through the lens of employee experience and perception while exploring generational differences and expectations regarding mental health challenges. 

The new research shows that mental health challenges in the workplace continue to persist, especially for that of younger generations of workers. One in three U.S. workers surveyed for this study say their job has negatively impacted their mental health in the past six months. Moreover, 47 percent of Generation Z employees and 46 percent of Millennial workers say they've experienced stress related to their job at least once a week in the last six months, compared to 27 percent of Baby Boomer and Traditionalist workers. These results indicate a growing need for mental health support for younger workers.

"An employer's role in addressing employees' mental health as it relates to the workplace has obviously become increasingly important" said Wendi Safstrom, president of SHRM Foundation. "Finding, communicating and providing access to the benefits and support that reflect the needs of your employees, especially in a multi-generational workplace, is key."  

Additional key findings include: 

  • More than one in four Generation Z workers (27%) say their job made them feel depressed at least once a week in the last six months, compared to 18% of Millennials, 14% of Gen Xers and 7% of Baby Boomers & Traditionalists.
  • Forty-two percent and 36 percent of Generation Z workers and Millennial workers, respectively, say their job made them feel overwhelmed once a week in the last six months, compared to less than one in four (20 percent) of Baby Boomer and Traditionalists.
  • Nearly one in four Gen Z workers (24%) and seventeen percent of Millennial workers say that their job made them feel lonely at least once a week in the last six months compared to five percent of Baby Boomer and Traditionalists.
  • Roughly one in three Generation Z (30%) workers and more than one in four Millennial (26%) employees say their job made them feel disengaged at least once per week over the last six months compared to Gen Xers (16%) and Baby Boomers & Traditionalists (8%).

Committed to elevating and empowering HR leaders to be forces for social good, the SHRM Foundation has provided research, tools, training and other resources to equip employers to improve mental health support in their workplaces. Resources include the Workplace Mental Health Ally Certificate program, a Field Guide for Mental Health in Your Workplace and the Mental Health in America: A 2022 Workplace Report. To view more information about what the SHRM Foundation is doing to support employee mental health, please visit:


A sample of 1,000 U.S. workers was surveyed using a third-party online panel. The survey was administered between March 15, 2023, and March 28, 2023. For the purposes of this study, we refer to U.S. workers as those who are working full-time or part-time in the United States and we refer to U.S. employees as those working full-time or part-time for an organization in the United States.

About SHRM

SHRM 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 nearly 325,000 members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 235 million workers and families globally. Learn more at SHRM's mission, leadership, and financials on the SHRM about page.  

About SHRM Foundation

Founded in 1966, the SHRM Foundation is the 501(c)(3) philanthropic arm of the world's largest HR professional society, SHRM. The SHRM Foundation mobilizes the power of HR for positive social change in the workplace. Its robust resources, meaningful partnerships and evidence-based programming educate and empower HR professionals to hire diverse talent, build inclusive workplaces, prioritize workplace mental health and wellness, develop, and support the next generation of HR professionals, and help employees find purpose at work and beyond. Learn more about the SHRM Foundation.


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