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May is Mental Health Awareness Month: Are companies doing enough for their employees' mental health?

A study found that more than one out of four Americans quit their job in the past two years for the sake of their mental health.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Mental health continues to be an important topic in need of discussion with one in five adults experiencing mental illness each year according to the National Alliance on Mental illness. This is why the month of May was made Mental Health Awareness month in 1949 to help erase the stigma surrounding the topic. 

Yet a survey done by Jobsage found that one in four Americans won't discuss mental health at work. Even though that same study found that work has the second-worst impact on the mental health of Americans, just below finances. With two out of five Americans considering quitting their job in the past two years for the sake of their mental health, and one out of four actually quitting their jobs due to their mental health. 

The study also found that one in five said their company doesn't do enough for their mental health. Of companies that do offer mental health services and have a healthy work-life balance, 98% of employees reported being happy, as opposed to 70% of employees being happy at companies that don't do enough to support the mental health of their employees. 

So what do employees want from their employers? According to the study 47%, want a better work-life balance. Coming in a close second at 42% is more time off. At least 37% said workplace discussion about mental health was needed and 35% said they wanted more training on topics like stress management. 

Being overworked is the number one cause of work-related stress according to the study with more than one out of four Americans having experienced work-related burnout in the last year. Jobsage also reported that 77% of correspondents admitted to taking a mental health day, with 66% feeling guilty for doing so. One out of five of the study participants also said they wouldn't be comfortable admitting that they are in need of a mental health day.

Even though great strides have been made regarding mental health in the workplace, this study suggested there is still a long way to go. But not all is doom and gloom; often just starting a conversation with management is all it takes with 96% of participants having reported that they talked with their managers about mental health and received a positive response. Three out of five said they now speak regularly about it. 

So don't be afraid to reach out if you are struggling with your mental health. You are not alone and having these conversations can help you and also lay the groundwork for your colleagues who may also be struggling with their mental health.  

If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis please call  1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center. More information can be found here

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