Employers falling short in supporting employee mental health needs, NEBGH survey finds

Most employers supporting flexible work environments, health work-life balances and DEI initiatives

NEW YORK, June 26, 2023 — U.S. employers are coming up short when it comes to meeting the mental health needs of their employees, according to the results of a new survey released today by Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH). Conversely, employers give themselves high marks when it comes to supporting their employees’ desires for a flexible work environment and a healthy work life balance, and integrating diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) throughout their organization.

“Supporting employees’ mental health and wellbeing needs has become a top priority for most organizations,” said Candice Sherman, CEO of NEBGH. “While employers understand the importance of providing the resources and tools to support their employees’ overall wellbeing and creating a wellbeing culture, the initial results of our survey clearly show that employers need to take their mental health initiatives to the next level.”   

Indeed, consider these findings from 140 large U.S. employers that participated in the NEBGH’s Well Gauge Survey:

  • One in four respondents (26%) never identify needs and test awareness and effectiveness of their mental health programs.
  • Nearly three in ten respondents (29%) never incorporate messaging campaigns through social media and internal platforms into their mental health strategy.
  • Only one half (52%) of employers always or usually provide easily accessible information about mental health support in a wide range of modalities.
  • Less than half of respondents (47%) say managers are always or usually engaged in breaking mental health stigma.
  • Only one half of employers (49%) say managers always or usually know how to respond to employees’ mental health needs and direct them appropriately.

At the same time, the majority of respondents say they are doing the right things to support their employees’ desire for having a flexible work environment and a healthy work-life balance:

  • Three in four respondents (76%) always or usually support a healthy work-life balance.
  • More than eight in ten respondents (85%) support a flexible work environment, where possible.
  • Two thirds of employers (67%) embrace financial health.
  •  Nearly two thirds of employers (63%) always or usually integrate DEI initiatives throughout their organizations.
  •  Eight in ten respondents (81%) encourage employee community involvement.

“Our Well Gauge Survey Tool was designed by a committee of employers, health plans and providers so that employers can assess how well they’re doing in creating a culture of mental wellbeing and take the recommended concrete steps to improve their score,” said Amy Tippett-Stangler, NEBGH Sr. VP leading the organization’s mental health initiatives. “Even though there’s more work to be done, the good news is that mental health and overall wellbeing is high on the priority list of employers that have responded to date. We look forward to assessing more results as employers around the country take the survey.”

About Northeast Business Group on Health

NEBGH is an employer-led, multi-stakeholder coalition that empowers members to drive excellence in health and achieve the highest value in healthcare delivery and the consumer experience. NEBGH employer/purchaser members cover 8 million lives in the U.S. and 12 million globally.

Media Contact:

Ed Emerman