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Half of millennials have left jobs for mental health reasons, survey shows

Posted at 12:31 PM, Oct 09, 2019

A new survey examines the role of mental health in the workplace, and the results show that millennials and those part of Generation Z have left jobs for mental health reasons.

According to the survey from Mind Share Partners, a nonprofit organization that tackles issues related to mental health in the workplace, one-fifth of respondents voluntarily left jobs, at least in part, for mental health reasons.

The nonprofit says in the report, which was published in the Harvard Business Review, that this is "a significant finding for companies seeking to recruit and retain talent."

In addition, more than half of millennials and 75 percent of Gen Zers said they had left a job, at least in part, for mental health reasons. Less than 10 percent of baby boomers said they had left a workplace due to mental health reasons.

This may point to a generational gap in how mental illness is viewed. The survey also said that while 58 percent of millennials believed it is very or extremely important that a workplace have a culture that supports mental health, only 29 percent of baby boomers felt the same way.

"Younger generations (Gen Z & millennials) were more likely to experience mental health symptoms for longer durations, but were also more open to diagnosis and treatment as well as talking about mental health at work," the report says. "They were also more likely to have left roles for mental health reasons, and valued workplace environments that supported mental health."

The "Mental Health at Work: 2019 Report" also shows that mental health can affect productivity at work. Among the survey responders, 61 percent said that their productivity at work was affected by their mental health. The most common ways this manifested for responders was difficulty concentrating, avoiding social activities, taking longer to do tasks, being less responsive to email and other communications, and difficulty thinking, reasoning or deciding.

One-third of the 1,500 survey-takers also said they thought that work contributed to their experience of symptoms of mental health conditions.

"This is consistent with scientific research that has shown that the workplace can actually independently cause or exacerbate existing mental health conditions," the report says.

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health symptoms, a list of resources can be found here.