Global Research Study Report – a Global Picture of Mental Health in the Workplace

1 in 2 employees worldwide are dealing with ongoing mental health challenges, or have previously experienced them. The youngest generations, as well as those with disabilities, and those identifying as neurodivergent or LGBTQIA+ are feeling the strain the most.

Despite conversations around how to build better mental health having now entered the mainstream, mental health challenges continue to affect all parts of the global workforce.

Around half of employees worldwide (52%) admit to either be dealing with ongoing mental health challenges at work or to have previously experienced them, according to new research released by The Global Business Collaboration for Better Workplace Mental Health (GBC).

Mental health challenges are very much a mainstream experience for people in the workforce, across all types of roles – with blue (50%) and white (52%) collar workers equally likely to have faced or be facing them.

Across the generations, younger workers feel the strain the most, with both Gen Z (65%) and Millennials (56%) admitting that they are currently facing or have previously faced challenges related to their mental health. For older generations the numbers reporting are lower, but still significant – with Gen X at 42% and Boomers at 34%.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of all employees feel that it’s extremely or very important for employers to prioritise the mental health of their workforce, and leaders play a crucial role. More than 4 in 5 workers (85%) feel that their employers care about their people’s mental health in organisations where senior leaders are vocal about the topic, whereas fewer than 1 in 3 workers (31%) feel that their employer cares when they are silent. Workers also have a stronger desire to quit when leaders are not speaking about mental health – 30%, compared with 22% when they do speak out.

The extensive study gathered responses from over 12,200 employees, across all generations, 12 countries and multiple industries and job roles. The research includes fast-growing economies such as India, China, Nigeria and Brazil, where little or no research on mental health and wellbeing at work has been carried out to date. It identifies that there are factors at work which could be contributing factors to employees’ mental health challenges, and work is an aspect of people’s lives which mental health challenges directly impacts.

Poppy Jaman OBE, Chair of The Global Business Collaboration for Better Workplace Mental Health (GBC) & Founder and Executive Vice Chair of MindForward Alliance, said:

“The message from this new research is clear: the more senior leaders speak up about the topic of mental health, the more the global business community can build, foster and embed supportive cultures in their workplaces. Through open and honest communication and inclusive behaviours around the topic of mental health, leaders can aid and empower a healthy and resilient workforce.

“There’s a measurable impact for businesses too. If those feeling unsupported in the workplace lack motivation and have regular feelings of wanting to quit, the reverse is true for organisations which do support them, all of which can have a positive impact on businesses globally. The sooner workers feel able to disclose difficulties affecting them, the sooner they can get the support they need, enabling them to thrive in their personal lives as well as professional lives.

“Now more than ever, addressing workers’ mental health and wellbeing – at all levels, cultures, and across all sectors and industries – is a business and societal imperative at the heart of employers’ duty of care. We are calling on senior leaders in the UK and the world over to mainstream good mental health practices – from the top down, making it a core business priority.”

World map with different flags

The full report Mental Health in the Workplace: a Global Picture and country-specific reports are available to download at the link below.

A Global Picture: Mental Health in the Workplace