A toxic workplace can be harmful to mental health, Surgeon General says

A large portion of American workers say their workplaces contribute to mental health issues.

Three-quarters of U.S. workers have at least one symptom of a mental-health condition. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has once again put a spotlight on mental health, this time placing the onus on workplaces and employers to make a change.

Murthy issued a report on Thursday, declaring that toxic workplaces can be harmful to a person’s mental health due to factors like long hours, chronic stress and being underpaid.

“As we recover from the worst of the pandemic, we have an opportunity and the power to make workplaces engines for mental health and well-being,” Murthy said in a statement.

The report highlights that 76% of workers in the U.S. have at least one symptom of a mental-health condition, while up to 84% of people said their workplaces contributed to mental-health issues.

Murthy outlined “five essentials” that would help workplaces support wellbeing. These include protection from harm, connection and community, opportunity for growth, matter at work and work-life harmony. 

Those also incorporate components that would validate people’s value, safety and belonging, such as creating inclusive environments, providing social support, a living wage and flexibility.

“It will require organizations to rethink how they protect workers from harm, foster a sense of connection among workers, show workers that they matter, make space for their lives outside work and support their growth,” Murthy said in a statement. “It will be worth it, because the benefits will accrue for workers and organizations alike.”

Last year, Murthy spotlighted a mental health crisis among the nation’s youth, citing high rates of depression and anxiety in recent years.

Much of the recent spike in mental health issues in America has been attributed to the pandemic and inflation, but more attention is being placed on workplace wellbeing. One recent report found that biotech employees are seeking freedom, flexibility and a greater sense of connection at their workplaces.

This story first appeared on mmm-online.com. 


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