Mental Health Awareness: About half of millennials and 75 percent of Generation Z have quit their jobs for mental health reasons
Yesterday, we wrote about video consumption among young U.S. teens. Today, a new report shares the not-so-fun facts about the millennials and Generation Z. According to a new study conducted by Mind Shares Partners, SAP and Quatrics, young people are now quitting their jobs in droves. The study shed light on lived experience of mental health and stigma in workplaces in the U.S.
The study, which was published in Harvard Business Review, found that about 50 percent of millennials and 75 percent of Gen Zers have quit their jobs for mental health reasons. That’s compared to just 20 percent of respondents overall who said they’ve voluntarily left a job in order to prioritize their mental health — emblematic of a “shift in generational awareness,” the authors of the report, Kelly Greenwood, Vivek Bapat and Mike Maughan, wrote. For baby boomers, the number was the lowest, with less than 10 percent quitting a job for mental-health purposes.
The study also examined the full spectrum, from 100% mentally healthy to chronic and severe impairment. In previous studies, mental health has often been measured through either diagnosable conditions or general stress levels.
The survey found that the most common resources that employees wanted—from individuals to the C-suite—were mental health training, more easily available information about mental health resources, and a more open and supportive culture for mental health at work. In order for true change to occur, we must continue to expand our understanding of the workplace mental health experience and stigma within companies and demographic communities.
“Less than half of our respondents felt that mental health was prioritized at their company, and even fewer viewed their company leaders as advocates,” the author of the study said. Eighty-six percent of the respondents thought that a company’s culture should support mental health. “This percentage was even higher for Millennials and Gen Zers, who have higher turnover rates and are the largest demographic in the workforce. Half of Millennials and 75% of Gen Zers had voluntarily left roles in the past for mental health reasons, compared with just 20% of respondents overall, a finding that speaks to a generational shift in awareness. It is not surprising then that providing employees with the support they need improves not only engagement but also recruitment and retention, whereas doing nothing reinforces an outdated and damaging stigma,” the study found.
The study concluded with what companies and organizations can do to address the mental health problems among youths. “Companies that want to improve the state of mental health at work — especially for younger, diverse demographic groups — need to adjust their strategies,” the authors of the study recommend. Starting at the top and investing in mental health education are critical. Trainings are imperative for all employees — and especially managers — to learn how to name, normalize, and navigate mental health at work. We’re not advocating for managers to become therapists.