New Report from Ginger Highlights That U.S. Workers Are Stressed and Seeking Easy to Access Behavioral Healthcare from their Employers

A survey of 1,200 workers shows nearly 50% have cried at work due to stress, and encounter barriers to getting effective help

Ginger, the leader in on-demand behavioral health, released the 2019 Workforce Attitudes Towards Behavioral Health Report. In preparation for Mental Health Awareness month in May, Ginger set out to better understand attitudes of U.S. workers with regards to their emotional and mental health. This first-ever survey compiled data from 1,200 U.S. full-time workers who have employer-provided health benefits. Ginger’s data reveals that the majority of U.S. workers are highly stressed and motivated to seek care; however, accessible, simple-to-use services are not always available through employer programs.

“With our on-demand behavioral health offering, we are helping employers to do just that.”

“Through both our members and employer clients alike, we consistently hear about the challenges of managing emotional and mental health in the workplace,” said Russell Glass, CEO of Ginger. “The effects of stress on worker productivity and a company’s bottom line are well documented. We are taking this one step further by exploring how stress affects workers emotionally, what tools they may be using to get care, and the employer’s role in making that care more accessible and useful.”

Nearly half of workers have cried at work, and many more have missed at least one day of work due to stress within the last year.

The survey asked workers to evaluate their stress levels within a 12-month span and found that:

  • 83 percent of workers experience stress at least once a week, with 16 percent reporting “extreme stress,” which is defined as experiencing stress daily. Manual workers, Gen Z, lower-income earners, and those from densely-populated areas reported the highest levels of extreme stress.
  • 81 percent of workers acknowledged that stress impacts their work negatively, manifesting in a range of symptoms from fatigue and anxiety to physical ailments and missed work.
  • 48 percent of all workers reported crying at work due to stress. Of note, women were more inclined to report crying at work due to stress; however, 36 percent of men also acknowledged they have cried on the job.
  • 50 percent of workers reported missing at least one day of work out of a 12-month period due to stress; younger generations (Gen Z and Millennials) are more likely to call out multiple times a year, in a major blow to workplace productivity and at a significant cost to companies.

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Workers are motivated to get help, but employers are lagging in delivering benefits that meet employee needs.

Survey respondents reported that their attitudes towards behavioral health have changed within the last five years; 50 percent report that they are now more likely to address their mental health by getting help. However, two-thirds report they have yet to see an improvement in accessible services from their employer.

  • 65 percent of workers reported having behavioral health coverage, but 81 percent report barriers to using services; including the limited number of providers covered by their plans, lack of time to get help, confusing program options and stigma.
  • 35 percent of workers reported paying for behavioral healthcare out of pocket because employer benefits were inadequate.
  • 30 percent of workers started a behavioral health program that they did not finish. Those in younger generations were the most likely to drop out (45 percent of Gen Z, 43 percent of Millennials).

For those seeking care, cost and privacy were listed as top concerns. For those who did take advantage of employer-provided behavioral health benefits, ease of access was the number-one motivating factor.

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Improved behavioral health services outrank other workplace benefits for job seekers.

As work-induced stress continues to rise, workers overwhelmingly agree that their behavioral and mental health should be their employers’ concern. Ninety-one percent of workers, across all demographics, believe that their employers should care about their emotional and mental health. According to the survey, available behavioral health options are a key consideration for many workers when evaluating new job opportunities.

  • 85 percent of workers noted that behavioral health benefits are a consideration when evaluating a new job opportunity. For younger generations (Millennials and Gen Z), the benefit is particularly important.
  • Behavioral health benefits even outranked other progressive “perks,” including gym memberships, free meals or fun office environments, demonstrating that behavioral health services are not just a “good-to-have offering,” but a pivotal benefit that can attract new talent to companies.

“While it’s encouraging to see that attitudes about behavioral health are changing, it’s clear that there is significantly more work to be done to make care more accessible when and where workers need it,” said Glass. “With our on-demand behavioral health offering, we are helping employers to do just that.”

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