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Indicators In Your Company Culture That It’s Time To Focus On Mental Health

Updated: Apr 25

Three coworkers talking about mental health at work.

The momentum in the business community to help address employee mental health is growing. More companies are recognizing their responsibility in supporting employees who are experiencing increased stress and lower levels of psychological safety. Or maybe a workplace crisis has occurred, highlighting a need to build a proactive culture of mental health.

In our work at Mind Share Partners, we are seeing HR teams being inundated with complaints of burnout, stress, and anxiety. CEOs or board members are becoming more aware of the opportunity to make mental health a leadership priority and respond to worker desires for balance and wellbeing.

Mental health—or a lack thereof—shows up in company culture in a number of ways. Leaders and HR professionals should pay attention and make mental health a strategic priority.

Here are five common factors we've seen that indicate your company could benefit from a mental health tuneup.

HR overwhelm.

When HR professionals are overwhelmed with increasing complaints of stress, anxiety, burnout, or performance issues, it could signal a larger concern within the workforce as a whole. HR is on the front lines of feeling the burden of a mentally unhealthy workplace. But creating a mentally healthy culture cannot just be an HR initiative. It needs to be a C-level priority for the entire organization on behalf of all workers and to alleviate the crushing burden on the HR team.


Silence isn’t good. 

A noticeable absence of open discussions about mental health likely indicates the dark cloud of stigma is hovering over a workplace – or there’s a lack of understanding surrounding mental health issues. A workplace where leaders do not model, normalize, or encourage dialogue around mental well-being is likely to have many employees struggling in silence. Mind Share Partners 2023 Mental Health at Work Report found that less than 40% of U.S. workers said their employer prioritizes mental health and saw their leaders as advocates.

Proactively fostering an environment that promotes open conversations can help identify and address mental health concerns and enable employees to access the support they deserve.

Manager ineffectiveness.

When managers are ineffectively supporting the wellbeing of their teams, it can indicate a need for up-skilling to help managers navigate conversations related to mental health. The goal is to build safe, sustainable, and effective teams. Managers play a crucial role in recognizing signs of distress, providing support, and creating a positive work environment. Untrained managers may result in increased stress, decreased morale, and diminished overall well-being among employees.

Challenges with hiring, absenteeism, or retention.

Persistent challenges in hiring, high rates of absenteeism, or difficulties retaining employees may be linked to mental health issues within the workplace. A stressful or unsupportive work environment can contribute to employee disengagement. Mind Share Partners report found that 50% of U.S. workers reported having left previous roles at a company due, at least in part, to mental health reasons. This number grows to 81% for Gen Z and 68% for Millennial workers. ents (previously 50% in 2019).

Addressing these challenges requires a focus on mental health support to create a workplace that fosters employee well-being and satisfaction.

High medical costs.

Elevated medical costs can be a financial indicator that employees are struggling with mental health issues. Healthcare costs are often employers’ second largest expense after salaries. The American Psychological Association estimates that up to 70% of primary care visits are due to mental health-related concerns, such as–depression, anxiety, stress, panic, and mental health claims are increasing at twice the rate of physical health medical claims. Investing in a comprehensive mental health strategy can help create a supportive culture to reduce long-term medical costs and promote overall employee health and productivity.


Bernie Wong is the Knowledge Lead & Principal at Mind Share Partners

Michael Davis is a Principal at Mind Share Partners. Michael leads impact-focused advising for companies and leaders on how to create a culture of support for mental health in the workplace. He facilitates Mind Share Partners’ workplace training and leads strategic projects. Mike holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Teaching from Dominican University. He graduated cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in Psychology.


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