Unum report explores mental health challenges in U.S. workplaces

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (March 27, 2019) — A new report from Unum (NYSE: UNM), a leading provider of employee benefits, reveals that just 25 percent of managers in the U.S. have received training on how to refer employees to mental health resources, and more than half of people are unsure how they would help a colleague who came to them with a mental health issue.

“The development, implementation, and promotion of mental health strategies has become a top priority for many of today’s employers,” said Michelle Jackson, assistant vice president of market development at Unum. “Creating a workplace culture that promotes mental health resources and encourages employees to take advantage of them helps to destigmatize mental health issues and leads to a happier, more productive workforce.”

Available now at Unum.com/mentalhealth, the Unum report, “Strong Minds at Work,” details recent survey data from human resources professionals; adult workers in the U.S.; workers with a diagnosed mental health issue; and insight from mental health professionals and industry-leading research organizations.

Some key findings include:

  • Mental illness is one of the top causes of worker disability in the U.S., and 62 percent of missed work days can be attributed to mental health conditions
  • 55 percent of employees said their employer did not have, or they were unsure if their employer had, a specific program, initiative, or policy in place to address mental health
  • 76 percent of employees were confident their managers were properly trained on how to identify employees who may be having a mental health issue, while just 16 percent of HR professionals felt the same
  • 92 percent of employees said they thought their employer’s managers were trained on how to refer employees to mental health resources, while just 25 percent of HR professionals said their managers are provided that training
  • Among employees with a mental health issue, 42 percent have come to work with suicidal feelings
  • 61 percent of employees feel there’s a social stigma in the workplace towards colleagues with mental health issues; half of them feel that stigma has stayed the same or worsened in the previous five years

Beyond exploring extensive feedback from employees and HR professionals, the report also offers clear recommendations for employers on how to support employees with mental health issues and how to create a stigma-free workplace culture. Additional resources on mental health, caregiving and leave management can be found on the Unum website.

Strong Minds at Work

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About Unum Group

Unum Group (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for 175 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2022, Unum reported revenues of about $12 billion and paid $8 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®. 

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