The Hartford’s New Study: Black U.S. Workers Face Greater Barriers To Mental Health Support At Work

HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jul 20, 2023–New research by The Hartford and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found Black U.S. workers face greater barriers to mental health support in the workplace compared with white, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) U.S. workers.

Black U.S. workers were more likely to rate their mental health as “fair/poor” and were less likely to say their company had empathetic leadership and an open, inclusive work environment that encourages a mental health dialogue. Also, Black American workers were more likely to say they encounter difficulty in discussing mental health in the workplace due to their race/ethnicity, cultural background, and gender identity. Moreover, Black workers were more likely than white workers to say they have experienced exclusion, hostility, a culture of inequity, microaggressions, and discrimination at their job that affected their mental health. In contrast, AAPI workers were more likely to report “excellent/very good” mental health, with open inclusive workplaces with empathetic leaders, supportive co-workers, and flexible schedules.

“All Americans deserve safe, supportive and mentally healthy work environments,” said The Hartford’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift. “By sharing data that illustrates the intersection of mental health and people’s identities, we strive to promote empathy and equity in more workplaces. It is vital that companies continue to break down stigma and prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion. Together, we can make a difference and improve the lives of millions of U.S. employees and their families.”

For the second consecutive year, the workers’ compensation and employee benefits provider and the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization have announced their research during the Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Their shared goal is to boost mental health awareness and use of resources that support worker wellness.

“This July and beyond, we are honoring Bebe Moore Campbell’s legacy by joining forces with companies, like The Hartford, to break down barriers, emphasize our shared humanity, and promote mental wellness in the workplace,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison Jr. “It is crucial to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and ensure that every individual, regardless of race, culture or identity, has access to the support and resources they need to thrive.”

While U.S. companies showed improvements in creating a mentally supportive workplace year over year, white and AAPI workers were more likely to report favorable workplace experiences, compared with Black and Hispanic/Latino workers.

        White                            AAPI                  Hispanic/ Latino                            Black
  2023 2022 2023 2022 2023 2022 2023 2022
I am/would be comfortable talking to my co-workers about my mental health. 43% 48% 46% 35% 32% 36% 36% 29%
My company’s leadership, including managers/supervisors, are empathetic and take a genuine interest in employees’ lives   64%   57%   61%   44%   47%   46%   38%   40%
My company provides employees with flexibility in work schedules to get mental health help 54% 48% 60% 40% 41% 39% 43% 33%
My company has an open and inclusive work environment that encourages a dialogue about mental health 50% 43% 55% 42% 44% 36% 41% 33%

Survey findings also showed various aspects of identity can affect mental health at work, such as age, race, gender, and job. That intersectionality was also illustrated in verbatim quotes about barriers to speaking out about mental health at their company:

“My race, sexuality, age and almost every aspect of my identity makes it hard to be my authentic self in the workplace.”

“I am a racial minority and a female in a male-dominated workplace.”

“I’m a gay man working in a retail environment that is not typically supportive of different people.”

Connections and Belonging

In new survey questions, white working Americans were more likely to report a strong personal connection with co-workers, a sense of belonging at work, and alignment with company values than Black and Hispanic/Latino workers.

        White                            AAPI                  Hispanic/ Latino                           Black
I feel comfortable being my true self at work.         72%       67%     55%       67%
I have a sense of belonging at my work         71%       63%     55%      49%
My values align with my company’s values         62%       57%     50%       42%
I have strong personal connections with my coworkers      61%      56%      40%     47%

Employer Actions

A majority of U.S. workers (61%) said they want to work for a company that prioritizes its employees’ mental health. The survey data revealed actions that employers could take to break down stigma and foster inclusion:

Enlist senior leaders to lead company initiatives to dispel stigma and normalize talking about mental health. At The Hartford, Swift has spoken publicly, without judgment, about mental health, addiction, and other wellness topics.

Provide company-wide mental health education so that all employees can provide peer-to-peer support and know where to turn for help. The Hartford provides training to managers on mental health fundamentals and a mental health ally badge program for all employees to identify themselves as a source for support.

Create or sustain employee resource groups (ERG) that are safe, accepting spaces. The Hartford has nine ERGs, many of which have held events aimed at supporting better mental health.

Survey Methodology

In 2023, NORC fielded a general population omnibus survey for The Hartford from April 13-17 and April 28 to May 1, which included an ethnicity oversample and LGBTQ+ oversample for a total sample size of 2,360. Data was filtered to include only those who are employed (total n=1,456 working adults). The margin of error is +/- 3.75% at a 95% confidence level.

About The Hartford

The Hartford is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries under the brand name, The Hartford, and is headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice.


Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in our 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Forms 10-Q, and the other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

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