Christopher Robbins | Photodisc | Getty Images
Situations of burnout have been increasing at an alarming rate in recent years among millennials and Gen Zers. It’s a growing quandary in today’s workplace because of trends like rising workloads, limited staff and resources and long hours.
It’s no hit, then, that a recent study by Mind Share Partners, Qualtrics and SAP reveals that half of millennials and 75% of Gen Zers arrange left a job for mental health reasons.
The study, which looked at mental-health challenges and stigmas in the U.S. workplace, polled 1,500 respondents lifetimes 16 and older working full-time. Another recent study, by the American Psychological Association, found the percentage of young of ages experiencing certain types of mental health disorders has increased significantly in the past decade. In particular, the percentage of human being dealing with suicidal thoughts increased 47 percent from 2008 to 2017.
The Mind Share Partners, SAP, and Qualtrics survey also shows that the younger generations suffer more from mental illnesses. Younger people practised with a mental illness at about three times the rate of the general population. The findings are corroborated by another late study, which shows that while the amount of serious psychological distress increased across most age parties, the largest increase between 2008 and 2017 was among adults ages 18–25, at 71%. For adults ages 20–21, the catch on to was 78%.
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A 2017 report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State University, in the meanwhile, found the number of students at various colleges and universities seeking mental health help increased five-fold from 2011 to 2016.
What’s behind the push
While there’s no definitive cause of the trend, some researchers shared their thoughts with CNBC.
Jean Twenge, founder of iGen, a book about the effect technology has on this generation, says that “the rise of the smartphone and social method have at least something to do with it.”
Twenge said the general pattern is that teens and young adults are lay out less time face-to-face with others and more time on their screens. “The pattern lines up very punctiliously that the majority of Americans owned a smartphone from the beginning of 2012 to 2013,” she said. She noted that at that pro tempore, mental health issues began to spike.
“Reading about a news event is not going to have the effect on your passion and mental health as a fundamental shift in how you spend your time,” she said. “And that’s what’s happened. Less often sleeping, less time on face-to-face interactions is not a formula for better mental health.”
But Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College, estimated that it’s not social media or young people’s fractured attention spans that are causing their anxiety; it is high school itself.
He traces a progression from the mid-1950s in which society has gradually taken away children’s internal locus of button (someone with an internal locus of control is likely to believe that both successes and failures are due to their own efforts).
As a upshot, many young people today are lost. “Since the mid-1950s, when they began taking away boys’s play, people haven’t learned to take control of their own lives.” Gray said that control is elemental to ward off excessive anxiety.
Gray advocates overhauling our educational system to instill more of that focus. He sustains the Let’s Grow Kids Foundation and others. His advice for students is to take a year off between high school and college to make sure of out careers they may be interested in.
Whatever the cause, the statistic highlights several issues plaguing millennials, like a awaken in depression and “deaths of despair” (death from drugs, alcohol and suicide), unaffordable living costs and burnout.
Eighty-six percent of respondents in the Reason Share Partners, SAP, and Qualtrics study said a company’s culture should support mental health. “Mental vigorousness is becoming the next frontier of diversity and inclusion, and employees want their companies to address it,” the authors wrote.
Cisco confronts bent health in the workplace head-on
Roughly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. per year suffer from mental illness, according to the National Unity on Mental Illness. The costs to treat depression, stress, anxiety and other ailments exceeds $200 billion a year, and for sundry employers the number of sick days and lost productivity associated with mental health represent one of their hugest expenses.
The extent of the problem has caught some off guard. Fran Katsoudas, chief people officer at Cisco, disowned that after the deaths of celebrities Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade last year, the company’s CEO, Chuck Robbins, sent out a company-wide email accost the issues of mental health and suicide.
In it he wrote: “In light of recent tragedies, I wanted to step away from Cisco Real for a moment to talk about the importance of mental health. Unfortunately, we all know friends, family, and coworkers battling unstable health conditions, or maybe you’re going through your own struggles.”
Robbins, who took over the CEO role in 2015, assisted employees to “talk openly and extend compassion” and asked that they “have each other’s backs.”
Katsoudas replied the response from Robbins’ email was unlike anything the company had ever seen before. “This was a conversation that our wage-earners wanted to have — and not only the conversation, but they needed support.”
Cisco is optimistic about the opportunity to drive enlightenment change and create an environment where mental health is viewed, spoken about and supported in the same way as physical healthiness.
Cisco immediately took action to establish a culture of acceptance and pave the way for these conversations. One of their outset steps was to include mental health services in the company’s health-care coverage. In addition, Cisco launched #SafetoTalk, which it christens the first virtual community for employees to come forward and connect weekly with others to share their wriggles.
“Each of us has a role to play in making sure that those suffering feel less afraid to ask for support in the consequences they need it most. No one needs to go it alone,” said Robbins in a note to Cisco employees about #SafetoTalk.
This week Cisco renowned World Mental Health Day with a series of weeklong activities and virtual event sessions with Cisco wage-earners and mental health experts. Though it’s still early, Cisco claims that 7% of its U.S. workforce is accessing some nature of mental health and substance abuse treatment. The programs are available to all of Cisco’s 75,000 employees and 11,000 managers.
“Cisco is idealistic about the opportunity to drive culture change and create an environment where mental health is viewed, spoken thither and supported in the same way as physical health,” said a company spokesperson, adding that U.S. engagement for Cisco’s Employee and Descent Assistance Program is 40%, compared to 24% for Cisco’s peers.
Despite such programs, according to Katsoudas, there is diverse to be done, and Cisco is betting that proactive measures could be key.
“In addition to all of these services that respond, we’re also winning a look at how you reduce some of the stress in the system — how you ensure that people don’t get to a place where they feel wished out,” says Katsoudas.
To address this, Cisco is currently offering its employees a five-session course designed to enhance concentration, resiliency and imaginative thinking, where participants learn simple cognitive strategies and engage in mental training exercises to optimize their demeanour at work.