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53 workplace mental health statistics you can’t ignore in 2024

Everything you need to know about workplace mental health: the impact on your team, the business cost, ROI, and effective measures to help your team thrive

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Top mental health at work statistics (2024)UK workplace mental health statistics US workplace mental health statistics Spill’s take on mental health at work

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Since the pandemic, trends like the Great Resignation and quiet quitting have drawn attention to the importance of mental health in the workplace. The link between work and mental wellbeing is crystal clear, now more than ever. 

Want to make sure your people are having their emotional needs met, but don’t know where to start? It’s important to first get a picture of the workplace mental health landscape before deciding on which next steps are the right ones for you. 

We’ve put together a list of the most important workplace mental health statistics and data covering the breakdown of workplace mental health by country, company size, industry and identity, the impact poor mental health has on your team, the business cost of ignored workplace mental health, and some suggestions on what you can do to improve mental health in your organisation.

Top mental health at work statistics (2024)

The impact poor mental health has on people

  • Around 1 in 6 people (14.7%) experience mental health problems in the workplace. [1]
  • Since the pandemic, 81% of workplaces have increased their focus on employee mental health. [2]
  • However, 1 in 3 employees still feel that mental health support in their workplace is inadequate and would like more support from their employers. [3]
  • Nearly half (48%) of employees say their mental wellbeing declined in 2022, and 28% said they are miserable in their workplace. 60% of employees also reported feeling emotionally detached at work. [4,5]
  • Only 13% of employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health in the workplace. [6]
  • Happy employees are 13% more productive, on average. [7]

The cost of poor employee mental health to business

  • Globally, around 12 billion working days — or 50 million years of work — are lost every year to depression and anxiety. [8]
  • Mental health issues cost the global economy around $1 trillion every year. [9]
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UK workplace mental health statistics 

The cost of workplace mental health in the UK

  • You might think it’s obvious (and acceptable) to take time off to recover from any physical illnesses or injuries from work. But it might come as a surprise that on average, people take more time-off to deal with mental illness (stress, depression or anxiety) than anything else [10]:

  • Employees take around 18 days off a year to deal with stress, depression, or anxiety, while taking around 10 days for injuries, 17 days for physical ill-health, and 15 days for musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Poor workplace mental health costs UK employers around £56 billion every year, with a 25% increase since 2019. [2,11]
  • Presenteeism cost around £28 billion, staff turnover around £22 billion, and absenteeism around £6 billion

  • 28% of UK sick days are due to poor employee mental health. [11]
  • 61% of UK employees who left a job in the last year or plan to leave in the next 12 months cited poor mental health as a factor. [11]
  • The cost of staff turnover due to poor mental health has increased over 150% in the last three years (from £8.6 billion in 2019 to £22.4 billion in 2021). [11]

The impact of poor mental health on UK employees 

With mental health issues often being brushed under the table as ‘not real’ because of stigma, you’re likely to underestimate the very real repercussions of poor emotional wellbeing. In fact, research shows you are more likely to experience mental illness than you are to develop heart disease or diabetes. [12]

  • Around 828,000 employees suffer from work-related stress, depression or anxiety every year. [13] 
  • 17% of employees will struggle with a diagnosed mental health condition this year. They’ll be in emotional pain, and might not be able to work or function. [14]
  • A further 38% of employees without a mental health condition will be feeling unmotivated, flat, burnt out, anxious or low. This middle ground is known as languishing, and it’s surprisingly common. [14]
  • Loneliness and declining mental health are strongly linked. UK levels of loneliness rose during the pandemic, especially for people already struggling with their mental health. By the third lockdown, 40% of people with  pre-existing mental health diagnoses reported feeling lonely compared to 26% of the general UK population. [15,16]

  • 89% of employees with mental health issues say it impacts their working life. More than half of these have considered resigning from a job because it negatively impacted their mental wellbeing. [17]
  • Poor mental health is the main cause of sickness absences in the UK. Around 50% of long-term sick leave is due to stress, depression and anxiety. [6,17]
  • Around 300,000 people with mental health issues lose their jobs each year. This is higher than people who lose their jobs due to physical health ailments. [17]
  • 55% of people who experience depression say that work is a contributing factor. [2,18]
  • 79% of UK employees feel close to burnout (this rises to 82% in the tech industry). [3]
  • Over a quarter of employees say they can’t switch off and relax in their personal time, hinting at increasingly blurred work-life boundaries since the pandemic. [2,18]
  • 51% of London-based employees work on the weekends. This is 11% higher than the national average of 40%. [3]

Workplace mental health statistics by size, sector and industry

  • Over half (54%) of employees in the UK tech industry now work more on weekends and in the evenings than before Covid, and struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance. [3]
  • 86% of organisations in the UK finance industry experienced an increase in demand for mental health support in 2021, the highest among the sectors surveyed. [19]
  • Almost half (45%) of workers in construction and engineering take time off due to poor mental wellbeing. But around 30% report taking annual leave to avoid any questions or embarrassment, showing how stigma is particularly prevalent in this industry. [20]
  • 64% of people working in smaller companies (with 10 -100 employees) feel guilty about taking annual leave, while 30% take less annual leave than normal. [3]
  • 46% of employees in smaller companies worry about being perceived as not working hard enough, rising to 52% of workers in larger companies. [3]
  • In 2020-2021, poor workplace mental health costs the Private sector around £43-46 billion, while it costs the Public sector around £10 billion. [11]
  • Across all sectors, 47% of employees display ‘presenteeism’ (showing up for work without being productive due to poor mental health). [11]
  • The education sector shows one of the steepest declines in mental wellbeing, with turnover rates as high as 70% over the period March 2020 – October 2021. With working-from-home, educators found it particularly difficult to keep their students engaged, leading to worsening mental health. [11]

Workplace mental healths statistics by identity categories 

There’s never a one-size fits all approach to mental health support. All of us struggle with different things, and have different mental wellbeing needs. It’s important to consider employee wellbeing on a case-by-case basis

  • Women who work full-time are almost twice as likely to have a mental health problem than their male counterparts. [1]
  • Younger people (between the ages of 18 and 29) are more likely to leave their jobs for mental health reasons compared to their older counterparts. [11]
  • 40% of young people think more about their mental health at work now than before the pandemic, one of the higher proportions among age groups. [11]
  • The mental health of ethnic minorities has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, leading to higher staff turnover rates (35%) compared to white employees (26%). [11]
  • 30% of LGBTQ+ employees say they are ‘extremely’ stressed on a daily basis compared to less than 2 in 10 of those who do not identify as LGBTQ+. [21]
  • 60% of LGBTQ+ employees rate mental health support as ‘highly valuable’. [21]

Therapy is shown to help people cope with underlying feelings of anxiety, fear and stress in the workplace.

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US workplace mental health statistics 

  • 84% of workers experienced at least one mental health challenge over the last year. [22]
  • 71% of working adults reported at least one symptom of stress. [23]
  • 68% of millennials and 81% of  Gen Zs left their jobs for mental health-related reasons in the last year. [24]
  • Only 38% of employees feel comfortable using their company’s mental health services. [25]

Improving mental health in the workplace

  • More than half (52%) of employees don’t feel they get enough support from their employer for their mental wellbeing. [11]
  • 70% of managers believe there are ‘structural’ barriers to providing mental wellbeing support for their reports. [26]
  • Only 38% of HR respondents say that their line managers are equipped to have sensitive conversations around mental health. [2,18]
  • Initiatives aimed at improving workplace mental health can yield a return of interest up to 800% due to higher productivity, fewer sick days and lower staff turnover. [6]
  • Having better mental health initiatives in place can save UK businesses up to £8 billion every year. [27]
  • Initially investing £80 per employee in promoting wellbeing initiatives at work will result in a net return of around £600 in savings, due to reduced presenteeism and absenteeism. [1]
  • Employees are more interested in using digital tools to support their mental health now than before the pandemic (47% compared to 35%). [11]
  • The highest ROI can be achieved by providing mental health screening programmes and personal therapy, with returns of £6.30 for every £1 invested. Screening helps to identify people who may be susceptible to or experiencing mental health issues, in order to provide targeted support at an early stage and prevent the problem from worsening. [11]

  • 63% say that when people are kind, it has a positive impact on their mental health, and the same proportion agree that being kind to others has the same effect. Encouraging open conversations around mental wellbeing creates a kinder, more psychologically safe work environment. [28]

Other than educating managers, mental health initiatives like having a mental health policy, and access to professional services, simply trying to be more empathetic can go a long way. Hopefully we’ll see more companies prioritising mental health in the workplace, with happy, healthy teams to show for it.

Spill’s take on mental health at work

When an employee's mental health is flagging, they’re simply not able to do their best work – and they won’t feel good about trying, either. This can have a huge negative impact on the individual themselves, but also on the team around them, and on the company's bottom line. 

By focusing on improving employee mental wellbeing in 2024 you can help your team feel happier and more productive, leading to fewer sick days and improved staff retention. 

Workplace mental health resources

For a closer look at how to support employee mental health at work, check out our wellbeing resources for employers 👇

And if you're ready to provide your team with mental health support, here's our take on three popular options 👇

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