Nearly half of Americans say their jobs ‘negatively affect’ their mental health

Physically at work, mentally unwell. Nearly half of Americans claim their jobs “negatively affect” their…

Nearly half of Americans say their jobs ‘negatively affect’ their mental health

Physically at work, mentally unwell.

Nearly half of Americans claim their jobs “negatively affect” their mental health, new data shows.

The Gallup survey asked nearly 16,000 working Americans about their mental health as it’s associated with their jobs.

Four out of 10 participants expressed negative effects on their mental health due to to work. When broken down, 7% reported “extremely” negative impacts on their mental health while 33% said their work had a “somewhat” negative effect.

The survey comes after workplace productivity hit record lows, but it’s not because people are distracted working from home — it’s due to burnout.

According to Mayo Clinic, burnout is “physical or emotional exhaustion” that can result in “a sense of reduced accomplishment” and even identity. It’s no shocker that it can also affect mental health.

Nearly half of Americans say their jobs ‘negatively affect’ their mental health
The Gallup survey shows how work can affect mental health, as 40% of Americans surveyed express negative feelings.
Gallup
Missed work days
Missed workdays account for billions of dollars worth of lost productivity.
Gallup

American workers who experience fair or poor mental health miss an average of 12 unplanned days of work, compared to the 2.5 days other people take off. According to Gallup, missed work due to mental health costs the economy $47.6 billion annually in the form of productivity.

Poor mental health, of course, isn’t dispersed equitably throughout the workforce. Women bear the brunt of the ongoing mental health crisis that American workers face, as they are more likely (23%) to express “poor” or “fair” mental health than their male counterparts (15%).

Women at desk talking
Many employees in reported industries claimed they weren’t aware of mental health resources offered by employers, or that those resources weren’t accessible.
Getty Images

This is especially true for women under 30, who “carry the greatest burden,” the survey explained. Out of the female workers aged 18 to 29 surveyed, 36% reported negative mental health impacts, compared to only 27% of men in the same age range.

As workers age, that gap dwindles, and of the 65 and older crowd, only 10% of women and 9% of men felt their mental health was negatively affected by work.

That trend stayed true throughout the survey — when workers under 30 complained they were negatively impacted by work (47%), respondents aged 65 and older were found to be more content. In fact, only 15% of people age 65 and older were found to be unhappy, while 43% expressed positive feelings.

“The improvement with age could be attributed to many employees advancing into more rewarding work as their careers progress or — especially in the 65 and older group — working out of choice rather than necessity,” the survey states.

Man at table with head in hands
This year, employees have reported feeling the impending doom of burnout.
Getty Images

As mental health awareness increases, employers are offering resources to employees who may be struggling — but many find it inaccessible.

According to the survey, 50% or more of employees in 11 of the 16 reported industries claimed they didn’t believe mental health services were easily accessible or didn’t know if such resources existed.

Mental health by age
Interestingly, positive feelings toward work increased as the respondents’ ages grew.
Gallup

While nearly one in five Americans struggle with mental health in some way, the need to provide resources and treat it is vital. Global unhappiness is steadily climbing, and there’s been an increase of people reporting anger, stress, worry and sadness over the last decade, according to Gallup.

“The critically important role of leaders in supporting and buttressing a culture of well-being in the workplace has never been greater,” the survey states.