Black workers express difficulty in voicing their mental health needs

African Americans often feel less welcome and less valued in the workplace compared to other racial groups

Black workers express difficulty in voicing their mental health needs

African American workers have a hard time discussing their mental health with colleagues, a survey by The Hartford and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) said, as reported by  

The survey found that only 36% of Black US workers are comfortable with conversing about their mental health status with their coworkers.  

While this is an increase from the 29% in the previous year, it is still lower than 36% of Hispanic or Latino workers and 43% of white workers. Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) workers bore the most comfortability with the topic, with 46% saying they were willing to share about their mental state to coworkers.  

Only 41% of Black workers feel that the company they work for has an open and inclusive work environment which allows dialogue regarding mental health to foster.  

When asked whether their company’s leaders provided support through empathy and interest in their personal affairs, only 38% of Black workers said that they received this, a contrast to 64% of white workers who said that they did as well. 

The percentage of Black workers acknowledging inclusivity in mental health discussions at work has improved, indicating some progress. However, employers must continue their efforts to further amplify this inclusivity

According to Hartford and NORC, these are some of the actionable steps that employers and management teams can take to promote the mental health of their workers: 

  • Provide company-wide mental health education so that all employees can provide peer-to-peer support and know where to turn for help 

  • Create or sustain employee resource groups that are safe, accepting spaces 

The survey by Hartford and NAMI involved 2,390 respondents in order to gauge how well employers promoted good mental health among their employees. It segmented the results of the survey through the nationalities of their respondents which were white, AAPI, Hispanic or Latino, and Black.