U.S. Surgeon General Releases New Framework For Mental Health and Well-Being in the Workplace

Behavioral Health

U.S. Surgeon General Releases New Framework For Mental Health and Well-Being in the Workplace

With more than 160 million people participating in the United States workforce and with the average full-time worker in the United States spending about half of their waking life at work, workplaces play a significant role in shaping our mental and physical well-being. Employers have a unique opportunity not only to invest in the mental health and well-being of their workforce but also to help strengthen their organizations’ success by doing so.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the relationship between work and well-being into clearer focus for many U.S. workers. According to recent surveys cited by Dr. Vivek Murthy1,

  • 76% of U.S. workers in a 2021 survey reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition (anxiety, depression), an increase of 17 percentage points in just two years.
  • 81% of workers reported they would be looking for workplaces that support mental health in the future.
  • 84% of respondents reported at least one workplace factor that had a negative impact on their mental health.

In the Surgeon General’s Framework for Mental Health and Well-Being in the Workplace, Dr. Murthy outlines Five Essentials for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being to help organizations develop, institutionalize, and update policies, processes, and practices that best support the mental health and well-being of all workers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has summarized the key concepts as follows2:

1 Office of the Surgeon General: Framework of workplace mental health. https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/workplace-mental-health-well-being.pdf
2 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Hhs.gov

 Dr. Joel Axler

National Behavior Health Leader

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