Study with the National Alliance on Mental Illness shows barriers to equitable mental health resources still exist in many U.S. companies
U.S. workers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer (LGBTQ+) report a significant need for mental health support, yet experience obstacles to care that is offered in the workplace, according to new research by The Hartford and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Nearly half (47%) of LGBTQ+ working Americans said their mental health at work is affected by news and current events and 33% rate their mental health as fair or poor, compared with non-LGBTQ+ workers (33% and 13%, respectively).
Survey findings also indicate 45% of LGBTQ+ workers would not turn to workplace resources for help. Also, LGBTQ+ workers were more likely to say aspects of their identity—specifically their sexual orientation, age, and gender identity—make it hard for them to discuss mental health in their workplace. Similar to The Hartford’s previous research that found a majority of employers are seeing negative financial impacts due to declining employee mental health, the new data demonstrates the connection between mental well-being, employer support, and the company’s bottom line.
“As we celebrate Pride month, we are also championing the need for equitable, culturally appropriate mental health care that meets the needs of the LGBTQ+ community,” said The Hartford’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift. “We are sharing our data to raise awareness about this important workplace issue and inspire employers to join us in dispelling stigma, addressing disparities, and supporting the mental health of all employees.”
The Hartford has a long history of proudly supporting and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. The insurer has been recognized as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” from Human Rights Campaign Foundation for 14 years. Its LGBTQ+ employee resource group (ERG) called PRIDE was founded more than 25 years ago and champions the growth and development of its members by providing the company with a center of expertise for LGBTQ+ awareness, networking, and business practices.
For the second consecutive year, the workers’ compensation and employee benefits provider and the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization partnered on national research centered on intersectional aspects of people’s identities and mental health at work.
“NAMI stands in solidarity with everyone navigating mental health conditions, particularly those within the LGBTQ+ community,” said NAMI Director of Communications Matt Raymond. “This month we say ‘I Am NAMI Pride’ which is a powerful affirmation that underlines our identity. The ‘I AM’ within ‘NAMI’ reflects our collective dedication to mental health equity for every individual.”
A majority of LGBTQ+ workers (65%) in the 2023 survey said they want to work for a company that prioritizes employee mental health. The 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.
- Provide company-wide mental health education so that all employees can provide peer-to-peer support and know where to turn for help.
- Make data-driven decisions to ensure benefits meet the evolving needs of employees and their families.
- Create or sustain ERG for the LGBTQ+ community that will be a safe accepting space.
NAMI’s ”Mental Health Without Conditions” website offers ways to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, informative blogs and videos, and a list of mental health resources, including how to find a LGBTQ+ affirming mental health provider. The Hartford has been a stigma-free partner of NAMI, providing educational programs and mental health resources to business leaders and workers across the nation since 2020.
“Employee wellbeing, particularly mental health, is a diversity, equity and inclusion issue that is paramount in today’s workplace,” said Lori Rodden, The Hartford’s chief human resources officer and executive sponsor of PRIDE. “We are committed to maintaining an inclusive company culture that embraces diversity, fosters connection, and supports all employees as they bring their full selves to work.”
In 2023, NORC fielded a general population omnibus survey for The Hartford in April 13-17 and April 28-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 currently employed (total n=1,456 working adults). The margin of error is +/- 3.75% at a 95% confidence level.
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