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WGU Leaders: Employers Need to Support Mental Health

May 16, 2023

For more than 70 years, May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S. to promote the importance of mental health in our lives, increase awareness and access to resources, reduce stigma, and celebrate recovery.

In the May 2023 issue of HR Professionals Magazine, WGU College of Business leaders Joseline Castaños, associate dean and director for management and leadership programs, and Ashley Dugger, associate dean and director for human resource management programs, discussed that employers need to be a mental health resource for their employees.

According to the authors, SHRM recently published findings from the Workforce Institute at UKG that noted managers and leaders can have a more significant impact on employee mental health than their healthcare professionals or therapists. In their research, nearly 60% of employees surveyed (2,200 employees and 1,200 leaders spanning 10 different countries) noted work and their job was considered “the most significant factor in their mental health.”  

Most concerning from this research? In this one survey alone, one out of every five respondents noted the impact from their day-to-day work on their mental health is negative, resulting in burnout, exhaustion, increasingly heavy workloads, and that one-third of respondents also said they hardly ever, or even never, discussed these issues with their leaders. 

Resources that companies must invest in to care for employees include:

  • An affirming, supportive work environment by their coworkers and an empathetic and supportive leader.
  • Support for HR professionals’ mental health so they continue to strategically support business decisions and develop employees.
  • Access to multiple resources: one location for employees to find resources online or within the HR office; webinars; staff meetings; an Employee Assistance Programs with several covered therapy sessions for difficulties they encounter; and innovative technology-based solutions to manage well-being through apps/services like Calm, Headspace, Sonic Boom, and others.

Other valuable resources are:

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