Employers’ role in prioritizing mental health and well-being

A McKinsey Health Institute survey across 15 countries highlights how employers can make mental health a reality, especially for young workers.

To mark World Mental Health Day 2022, the World Health Organization has urged making “mental health and well-being for all a global priority.”1 With the growing disease burden related to brain-health conditions, moving this aspiration into reality requires bold action and deep commitment from a broad range of stakeholders—with employers playing a critical role.

In our McKinsey Health Institute (MHI) publication, “Addressing employee burnout: Are you solving the right problem?,” we highlighted what affects employee mental health and well-being. Now we examine who is most affected—and how leaders are in a position to improve employee mental health and well-being at scale by rethinking the workplace via a lens of a modern understanding of health. Research indicates that positive outcomes—such as job satisfaction and work engagement—are correlated with feeling included and supported, and with freedom from stigma or overwhelming workloads.

The insights discussed below are based on a global survey MHI conducted across 15 countries and nearly 15,000 employees. To learn more, see the sidebar, “Survey scope and methodology.”

Employers have the opportunity to move the needle on burnout, to explore ways to help workers struggling with mental-health and well-being challenges, and to explore ways to create the healthiest environments for employees.

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