According to Mental Health Index: 24% Decline in Employee Focus Driven by 36% Increase in Risk of PTSD

Employers beware – pandemic-fueled trauma is driving a dramatic decline in employee focus, especially among the nation’s youngest and oldest workers. According to the latest Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, risk of PTSD is up 36% between February and May 2021 and is now 55% higher than pre-pandemic.

Lack of concentration is among the top symptoms of PTSD. So, it comes as no surprise that the Mental Health Index findings show that sustained attention has declined 24% since April and is now 59% lower than pre-pandemic levels. When comparing focus now to one month ago, employees ages 60+ show a 125% decline and those ages 20-39 reveal a 37% decline. Further, planning is trending down 8% in the past month. Findings indicate that planning has declined 30% among workers ages 60+ since April.

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The Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, powered by Total Brain, a mental health and brain performance self-monitoring and self-care platform, is distributed in partnership with the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, One Mind at Work, and the HR Policy Association and its American Health Policy Institute.

“Employees returning to the workplace will bring with them the emotional trauma of the past year,” said Louis Gagnon, CEO, Total Brain. “This trauma will likely manifest itself through a decline in productivity and job performance. Dialogue, empathy and a move to eliminate ambiguity in future plans has never been more important than now. It is what employees will need as we all navigate the path forward.”

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Michael Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO, said “The environment of the past year will have a lasting impact on the emotional wellbeing of our organizations and our people. All of us are beginning to adjust as the workplace opens up but we will never be the same.”

According to Colleen McHugh, executive vice president of the American Health Policy Institute and strategic advisor for HR Policy Association, “Large employers appreciate that the wellbeing of their employees is a priority.  Having this data helps to underscore the importance of understanding that employees continue to struggle with mental health challenges, and it will help employers with their evolving benefit strategies as they navigate the post-pandemic era and the transition to an in-person environment in the workplace.”

Daryl Tol, executive vice president, One Mind at Work said, “It is important that employers know what to look for, as it relates to the state of mental health among their employees, during the return to work. Having the resources and tools fully integrated into their business model, and ready to re-onboard the entire team as if new will be best practice.”

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