McKinsey’s recent publications, National employer survey reveals behavioral health in a COVID-19 era as a major concern and Mental health in the workplace: The coming revolution, highlighted employee mental health (including substance use) as a major concern for employers in light of COVID-19. Even as the pandemic’s end may be in sight, the workforce continues to struggle, with many perceiving gaps in support. Mental health will continue to be a key priority as employers plan for a return to the workplace.
In this article, we use data from two national surveys that McKinsey’s Center for Societal Benefit through Healthcare ran in late 2020: one of 791 full-time employees and the other of 528 benefits decision makers. Our survey results indicate there is continued opportunity for employers to support workforce mental health by taking five actions: make mental wellness a priority, enhance available mental health support, communicate available mental health support, create an inclusive work culture, and measure and meet the need.
Please note: Throughout this article, the term mental health is inclusive of substance use.
There are several points of disconnect between employer and employee perspectives on workplace mental health
Employers can take five actions to support workforce mental health
Employers can make mental wellness a priority by dedicating organizational leadership and expanding resources for employees
Enhancing and tailoring support can help employers address employees’ persistent challenges in access to mental healthcare
Employers can communicate about available mental health support through a range of channels
Creating an inclusive work culture—free from mental health stigma—is critical to supporting workforce well-being
Employers have an opportunity to deepen measurement and accountability for mental health outcomes
Potential measurable effects of enhanced mental health supports include fewer missed work days and increased return to work rates
Employers that want to support employee mental health can consider the following questions as a starting point
Research methodology: Findings in this infographic are based on responses to the 2020 McKinsey Mental Health Employer Survey and the 2020 McKinsey Mental Health Consumer Survey, launched by McKinsey’s Center for Societal Benefit through Healthcare. The two surveys were fielded from November to December 2020. Employer respondents included 528 individuals who are primary or secondary decision makers for mental health benefits and related workplace programs. The survey sample was weighted to match the profile of employers at the national level using the number of employers in each employer size and industry type (based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)), and the number of employees in each employer size and industry type. Consumer (employee) respondents included a nationally representative subset of 1,523 individuals ages 18−84, including full- and part-time employees; adults not employed full-time were excluded from findings in this article. Of the 1,523 respondents, 791 were full-time employees. The sample was weighted to reflect national demographics. Both employer and employee samples were sourced separately, and employee responses were not tied to specific employers in the analysis.