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Nearly Half of American Workers Now Suffer from Mental Health Issues During COVID-19

Updated study by The Standard provides evidence that the pandemic has significantly increased workers’ mental health and substance abuse issues

According to an updated study released today, nearly half (46%) of full-time American workers are suffering from mental health issues, marking a significant increase from 39% one year ago. In an effort to understand the state of workplace behavioral health since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Standard and Versta Research conducted the 2020 Behavioral Health Impact Update to complement the original Behavioral Health Impact Study, released prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

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“The pandemic is creating a greater risk for comorbidity — co-occurring mental and physical conditions often associated with worse health outcomes and more complex treatment — which, if left without intervention, could be detrimental to an employee’s productivity or require an extended disability leave”

Results from the updated study unlock new information about the pandemic’s effect on U.S. workplaces only one year later, with noteworthy increases in workers’ mental health and substance abuse issues across generations and multiple industries.

  • Among workers struggling with mental health issues, more than half (55%) report it has been affecting their work since the pandemic began.
  • Nearly one in 10 employees have experienced lower productivity or missed work because of addiction or substance abuse.
  • Among workers struggling with addiction or substance abuse issues, over one-third (36%) say it has affected their work more since the pandemic began.
  • One in three survey respondents say that half or more of their work time suffers when they are struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues.

“The numbers speak for themselves — it’s critical for companies to offer employee benefits that include more robust and accessible well-being resources that help workers stay healthy and productive,” says Melissa Oliver-Janiak, senior director of Benefits and HR Service Center at The Standard. “These findings support the services we’ve been providing to our own employees and the need for employers to find new, effective and creative ways to support their people through this crisis.”

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