Strong Minds at Work

Unum Report Explores Mental Health Challenges in U.S. Workplaces

New research spotlights prevalence, stigma, and best practices

Unum’s 2019 Mental Health report ‘Strong Minds at Work‘ explores the state of mental well-being in the workplace and provides guidance on supporting employees with mental health issues and creating a stigma-free workplace culture

March 27, 2019 — CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new report from Unum (NYSE: UNM), a leading provider of employee benefits, reveals that just 25 percent of managers in the U.S. have received training on how to refer employees to mental health resources, and more than half of people are unsure how they would help a colleague who came to them with a mental health issue.

“The development, implementation, and promotion of mental health strategies has become a top priority for many of today’s employers,” said Michelle Jackson, assistant vice president of market development at Unum. “Creating a workplace culture that promotes mental health resources and encourages employees to take advantage of them helps to destigmatize mental health issues and leads to a happier, more productive workforce.”

Available now at, the Unum report, “Strong Minds at Work,” details recent survey data from human resources professionals; adult workers in the U.S.; workers with a diagnosed mental health issue; and insight from mental health professionals and industry-leading research organizations.

Some key findings include:

  • Mental illness is one of the top causes of worker disability in the U.S., and 62 percent of missed work days can be attributed to mental health conditions
  • 55 percent of employees said their employer did not have, or they were unsure if their employer had, a specific program, initiative, or policy in place to address mental health
  • 76 percent of employees were confident their managers were properly trained on how to identify employees who may be having a mental health issue, while just 16 percent of HR professionals felt the same
  • 92 percent of employees said they thought their employer’s managers were trained on how to refer employees to mental health resources, while just 25 percent of HR professionals said their managers are provided that training
  • Among employees with a mental health issue, 42 percent have come to work with suicidal feelings
  • 61 percent of employees feel there’s a social stigma in the workplace towards colleagues with mental health issues; half of them feel that stigma has stayed the same or worsened in the previous five years

Beyond exploring extensive feedback from employees and HR professionals, the report also offers clear recommendations for employers on how to support employees with mental health issues and how to create a stigma-free workplace culture. Additional resources on mental health, caregiving and leave management can be found on the Unum website.

The development, implementation, and promotion of mental health strategies has become a top priority for many of today’s employers...

About Unum Group
Unum Group is a leading provider of financial protection benefits in the United States and the United Kingdom and the leading provider of disability income protection in the world. Its businesses are Unum US, Colonial Life, Unum UK, and Unum Poland. Unum’s portfolio includes disability, life, accident and critical illness, dental and vision coverage, which help protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an illness or injury. Unum also provides stop-loss coverage to help self-insured employers protect against unanticipated medical costs. The company reported revenues of $11.6 billion in 2018, and provided $7.2 billion in benefits.

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