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Nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of U.S. employers feel the deteriorating mental health of their workforce is having a negative financial impact on their companies, according to a survey by the Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.

The survey, which polled more than 500 U.S. employers and 1,000 workers, found 34 per cent of employees reported feeling depressed or anxious at least once per week in 2022 — up from 20 per cent in 2020.

“Our data shows an undeniable, direct correlation between employee mental well-being, mental-health support and the impact to a company’s bottom line,” said Christopher Swift, chairman and chief executive officer of the Hartford, in a press release. “Employers that want a contemporary, inclusive workplace that supports its people should proactively invest in mental health with an eye to empathy and equity. The need is real and the time is now.”

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Yet, as employers’ productivity-related concerns grew, the survey found the percentage of employers that offer employee assistance programs, wellness benefits and addiction treatment programs dropped between 2020 to 2022. Fewer than a third (30 per cent) of employers said they offered an EAP in February 2022, a decrease from 54 per cent in March 2020.

A majority (82 per cent) of employers said their workforce has more access to mental-health resources than in previous years, while just 50 per cent of workers agreed with this statement. A similar percentage (80 per cent) of employers said their workers have flexibility in their schedule to get the mental-health help they need, compared to 53 per cent of workers. More than three-quarters (79 per cent) of employers also noted their employees’ mental health has improved thanks to the company’s resources, while just 35 per cent of employees felt the same way.

Notably, 82 per cent of employers said they have an open and inclusive environment that inspires dialogue about mental health, compared to 48 per cent of employees who agreed with that assessment. And another 81 per cent of employers said leadership at their company encourages conversations about mental health, while just 48 per cent of workers agreed.

Read: Survey finds just 40% of U.S. employers offer mental-health benefits, resources