Study Shows Millennials Put Mental Health First

By Ben Hamill - October 14 2019

Not only are millennials more discerning about which boundaries to lay down in the workplace, a recently published study shows, but more than half of those who participated in the US study have quit their jobs due to one or more mental health issues.

But why are younger people increasingly more willing to pack up and go and re-enter the uncertainties of a volatile marketplace? And does this mean that millennials are finding it to be safe and comfortable to talk about their mental health issues? The study, published recently in the Harvard Business Review and co-authored by Qualtrics, Mind Share Partners and SAP, and involving a total of 1500 US participants aged 16 years and older and all of whom work full-time jobs, provides valuable insight into how the situation around mental health awareness has evolved as well as the extent of the overall progress.

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The Stigma Is Alive And Kicking

The study clearly shows that people remain concerned about the stigma attached to mental illness. This isn’t news to resiliency expert Dr. Robyne Hanley-Daffoe, a senior education developer at Ontario’s Trent University. People who face having to navigate mental health challenges are often viewed as lazy and incompetent; looking for a cop-out not to have to work to optimal capacity even.

Its understandable too that companies have their own corporate challenges to worry about, which would explain, to some extent at least, the general approach being one of “the show must go on”. Even so, explains Dr. Hanley-Daffoe, companies would do well to realise that continuously working hard when one doesn’t feel one’s best, is actually counter-productive in the long run. People are way more likely to deliver top-quality work when they are rested leading a balanced life.

Overworked People Don’t Produce

Research also clearly shows that whilst working through lunch hours and during times not part of the scope of standard working hours may at first appear beneficial to business productivity, this simply doesn’t hold up in the long-run.

It actually stands to perfectly good reason, explains Dr. Hanley-Daffoe, that people who live balanced lives and enjoy proper support systems, ultimately serve companies more effectively during a standard 40-hour work week than those who are overworked and only barely able to hold up their ends of the employment bargain.

The fact that millennials are more likely to communicate unhappiness about companies who fail to prioritise mental health in the workplace, even if that communication happens by way of their looking for alternative employment that is more effectively geared towards a healthy workplace environment, may well be ascribed to the fact that younger people have experienced first-hand the life-destroying dangers of burn-out. This is because they’ve looked on as their parents invested increasingly more time in trying to make their way through life pleasing employers and being worked to the point of coming dangerously close to a full-on breakdown. And all in order to eventually not being able to enjoy retirement because they’ve developed various health issues along the way.

Finding the balance may be admittedly complicated but setting the boundaries and prioritising a lifestyle as opposed to just slaving away in order to survive, is without a doubt the first step towards creating a more balanced approach to the work/life equation.

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