Green Ribbons symbolize World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2021

Green Ribbons symbolize World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2021 Getty

October 10th—and every day for that matter—it’s important to celebrate World Mental Health Day to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilize efforts in support of mental health. This day and time of year has special implications for wellness in the workplace where mental health problems have escalated since the onset of Covid-19. It provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

Around The World Remote Work Chipping Away At Work/Life Balance

According to a poll by ComPsych—the world’s largest provider of behavioral health and well-being services—57% of employers say employee burnout is affecting turnover, retention and productivity at their company. Approximately 40% are concerned about declining employee engagement and morale. Adobe surveyed 5,500 people—enterprise workers and small-to-medium business owners—across seven global regions, asking respondents where they feel the most time pressure and how it has impacted their work and personal lives. An increasing number of people worldwide feel stressed, stretched and burned out. Remote work, while introducing some much-needed flexibility to the workday, has also increased expectations for workers to be on call and always on. The already blurry line between work life and personal life has, for many, been scrubbed away entirely.

The pressure to be “always on” has significantly eroded mental health and specifically work/life balance, according to employees. Survey responses revealed the true extent to which the very concept of time is changing.

  • Enterprise workers (49%) work longer hours than they’d like, feel pressure to be reachable around the clock (48%) and find it difficult to set work and personal life boundaries (45%). 
  • Enterprise workers (62%) feel their company is responsible for their long workdays and blame company culture (39%), administrative processes/tasks (36%) and business growth plans (17%). 

American Express surveyed consumers across seven countries and found that 76% agree they would choose to have stronger mental health over a new car, and 69% would give up their favorite TV show for it. A full 69% of consumers believe their mental health has been impacted by the pandemic, and 66% said the pandemic has encouraged them to spend more money on items or experiences that help with their overall mental wellness. The top three items that consumers have spent more money on over the past year include natural vitamins and supplements (39%), in-home fitness equipment (31%) and organic food (30%).

Tips For Business Leaders And Employees

After two years of remote work, employees are searching to sustain well-being at work. World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for employers to mobilize efforts in support of mental health on the heels of September’s National Suicide Prevention month. “We are living in unprecedented times, and there is a mental health tsunami underway with a dramatic increase in mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, suicidality, alcohol and substance abuse and relationship distress,” said Dr. Thomas Plante, a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University and clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. “We need to be hyper vigilant to these challenges and find strategies to address them with openness, respect and compassion—especially at work, where individuals face even more layers of stress.”

“Paying attention to the well-being of your workforce goes a long way,” Plante added. “Remembering that people are important, sacred, fully human and want to thrive, flourish and contribute to a better world is important, too.” 

The respondents from the Adobe survey noted potential remedies to improve work-related burnout and stress: 

  • Most enterprise workers (77%) are expected to stick to some sort of work schedule. Yet 51% would prefer to work flexible hours when it’s most convenient for them. 
  • One in two enterprise workers would switch jobs for better tools that made them more productive at work—this is especially true for Gen Z (70%), who are the main drivers of the “Great Resignation.” Enterprise workers would also switch jobs for better work-life balance (66%), control over their schedule (61%) and the option to work remotely (54%).  
  • If they had more time for work, enterprise workers would pursue the things they love about their job (53%).  

“The good news is that there are many quality, evidence-based strategies to help. But the bad news is that too few people utilize them,” said Plante. “In addition to professional mental health services, employers can get involved with simple interventions such as checking in with employees, treating employees with both respect and compassion, encouraging regular daily exercise and meditative practices.”

A recent SAP Concur survey found that 89% of global business travelers say they will add personal vacation time to their business trips this year. “Business travel can be very positive for employee mental health, said Ralph Colunga, a travel thought leader at SAP Concur. “It gets them out of the office and relieves the tension and stress of their usual routine. Many business travelers take the opportunity to tack personal travel onto their trip for rest and relaxation or the chance to get out and explore.”

Michelle Hay, chief people officer at Sedgwick, stressed individualizing mental health programs for employees and fostering a caring work culture. “At Sedgwick, we are taking a wholistic approach, focusing on our colleague’s mental, physical, financial and career well-being,” she said. “Specifically for mental health, we have created multiple points of entry and access so colleagues can get the support they need when they need it. We have mental health support through an on-demand chat via text with trained behavioral health coaches. Colleagues also have access to a licensed therapist and psychiatrist via video or in person sessions. In addition, we’ve created a forum for our own nurses who serve Sedgwick’s clients to counsel colleagues on Covid-19 exposures and cases.”


  • Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Journalist, psychotherapist, and Author of 40 books.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. is a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, psychotherapist in private practice, and award-winning author of two novels and 40 nonfiction books that have been translated into 15 languages. His latest books are CHAINED TO THE DESK IN A HYBRID WORLD: A GUIDE TO WORK-LIFE BALANCE (New York University Press, 2023)#CHILL: TURN OFF YOUR JOB AND TURN ON YOUR LIFE (William Morrow, 2019), DAILY WRITING RESILIENCE: 365 MEDITATIONS & INSPIRATIONS FOR WRITERS (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). He is a regular contributor to, Psychology Today, and Thrive Global. He has appeared on 20/20, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, ABC's World News Tonight, NPR’s Marketplace, NBC Nightly News and he hosted the PBS documentary "Overdoing It: How To Slow Down And Take Care Of Yourself." website: