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Which groups face greater barriers to mental health support at work?


Hartford, CT — Results of a recent survey show that Black workers are more likely to rate their mental health as fair/poor and less likely to say their employer provides an open, inclusive work environment.

The survey, conducted on behalf of The Hartford insurance company and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, included nearly 1,500 responses from working adults in the United States. The respondents included an “ethnicity oversample.”

Black respondents were more likely to say they encounter difficulty in discussing mental health in the workplace because of their race/ethnicity, cultural background and gender identity, according to a press release from The Hartford. It adds that they were more likely than white respondents to report having experienced exclusion, hostility, a culture of inequity, microaggressions and discrimination at work that affected their mental health. 

Among Hispanic/Latino respondents, 55% said they felt comfortable being their true self at work, compared with 72% of the white respondents. Few in this group said they feel comfortable talking with co-workers about their mental health struggles (32%) and that their employers provide schedule flexibility to get mental health assistance (41%).

The Hartford offers tips for employers:

  • Enlist senior leaders to lead company initiatives to dispel stigma and normalize talking about mental health.
  • Provide companywide mental health education so all employees can provide peer-to-peer support and know where to turn for help.
  • Create or sustain employee resource groups that are safe, accepting spaces.

“All Americans deserve safe, supportive and mentally healthy work environments,” The Hartford Chair and CEO Christopher Swift said in the release. “It is vital that companies continue to break down stigma and prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion. Together, we can make a difference and improve the lives of millions of U.S. employees and their families.”

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