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Talking about mental health at work is hard, LGBTQ+ people say


Photo: marchmeena29/iStockphoto

Hartford, CT — A new survey shows that many people who identify as LGBTQ+ have a significant need for mental health support but find it challenging to discuss the topic at work.

The survey, conducted by The Hartford insurance company and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, asked nearly 1,500 working adults about mental health and the workplace. The respondents included “an ethnicity oversample and LGBTQ+ oversample.” 

Among the workers who identify as LGBTQ+, 33% rated their mental health as fair or poor. However, 45% said they wouldn’t turn to workplace resources for assistance. This group was more likely than non-LGBTQ+ employees to say that aspects of their identity – specifically sexual orientation, age and gender identity – make it hard to talk about mental health at work.

Around two-thirds of the LGBTQ+ respondents say they want to work for an organization that prioritizes the mental health of its employees. They suggest organizations can help break down stigma around mental health and promote inclusion by: 

  • Having senior leadership lead workplace initiatives to normalize mental health discussions and dispel stigma.
  • Offering companywide mental health support so employees can provide peer-to-peer support and know where to turn when they need help.
  • Making data-driven decisions that ensure company benefits meet the evolving needs of workers and their families.
  • Creating or sustaining an employee resource group for LGBTQ+ workers that will provide a safe, accepting space.

“We are sharing our data to raise awareness about this important workplace issue and inspire employers to join us in dispelling stigma, addressing disparities and supporting the mental health of all employees,” The Hartford Chair and CEO Christopher Swift said in a press release.