Episode No. 108
  •  March 23, 2023

Workplace Mental Health Takes Center Stage

A New Priority for the Surgeon General

The US Surgeon General has called-out workplace mental health and wellness as a public health priority! Woot Woot! And a huge shout out to their new Framework for workplace mental health and well-being!   

Here is the link:

Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being — Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General


And don’t forget to read Surgeon General Murthy’s letter introducing the framework.  He discusses his parents’ experience in coming to America and what work meant to them. It meant connection and meaning – and helped them thrive – and provided for their family.  Sounds a lot like ease, meaning and joy!

The framework starts by citing the statistics on workplace mental health.  The vast majority of people are experiencing a mental health symptom due to stress at work, yet most are unwilling to seek help, which means people suffer.

Dr. Murthy then lays out the five components of workplace mental health and wellness.

Protection from Harm: Human needs: Safety and Security 

Protection from harm covers everything from adequate ergonomic equipment, safety in performing tasks such as lifting, clean air and water, sufficient light – and being free from impacts to our psychological safety, such as bullying and intimidation and discrimination.

Connection & Community  Human needs: Social Support and Belonging

Creating connections, relationships and networks at work offers all kinds of support to employees and can mitigate the tsunami of loneliness that is facing many Americans.  Creating a culture of belonging supports mental health and wellness.

Work-Life Harmony Human needs: Autonomy and Flexibility

The work-life harmony component of mental health and well-being at work acknowledges that most workers have more responsibilities than their work. Employers need to see workers as whole people with responsibilities outside of work, whether it is time needed for routine physical and mental health care, an unexpected family issue that requires urgent attention, or for regular time and space for rest, exercise, educational pursuits, and hobbies. Workers also need as much flexibility and autonomy as possible as to how their work is done, which helps them balance work on personal obligations.

Mattering at Work Human needs: Dignity and meaning

Workers want to know they matter and they make a difference.  This is about compensating workers in a way that acknowledges and communicates value as well as building a culture of gratitude and recognition.

Opportunity for Growth Human Needs: Learning and Accomplishment

Lastly, workers need opportunities for learning, accomplishment, and growth to support mental health and well-being in the workplace.  Workers become more optimistic about their abilities and more enthusiastic about contributing to the organization.  This can be education, mentoring, training or advancement opportunities.

Kudos to Dr. Murthy for bringing the issue of workplace mental health and wellness to the forefront of important health issues in the United States.