Leadership not meeting Black workers’ mental health needs, study finds
U.S. workers who self-identify as African American are less likely to discuss their personal mental health with coworkers. Additionally, they tend to feel less welcome and less valued at work than other major racial groups. However, there are signs that the national initiative to encourage more African Americans to seek help to improve their mental health is working.
Those are some of the findings from a recent survey of 2,360 individuals by The Hartford and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The survey was designed to gauge how well employers are promoting good mental health among workers. It segmented the results into four groups: white, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, and Black.
Overall, both Black and H/L respondents were less satisfied with workplace support for mental health than were the other two groups. Consider:
Only 36% of Black U.S workers currently feel comfortable talking to their coworkers about their mental health. However, that represents an increase from 29% in last year’s survey.
Meantime, the percentage of H/L workers who said they would be comfortable talking to coworkers fell from 36% last year to 32% this year.
AAPIs recorded the largest increase in willingness to share, up to 46% from 35%.
Less than half (41%) of Black workers feel that their company has an open and inclusive work environment that encourages a dialogue around mental health. All other groups reported a higher confidence level, with AAPIs enthusiasm the highest at 55%.
The largest disparity occurred when respondents were asked if company leadership supported them with empathy and interest in their personal lives. Sixty-four percent of white workers answered ‘yes’ to that and just 38% of Black workers agreed that the statement matched their experience.