NEWS Mental Health News US Surgeon General Releases New Guidelines For Workplace Mental Health By Kate Nelson Kate Nelson Kate Nelson is the news editor and contributing writer at Verywell Fit, Family, and Mind. Learn about our editorial process Updated on October 23, 2022 Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Karen Cilli Fact checked by Karen Cilli Karen Cilli is a fact-checker for Verywell Mind. She has an extensive background in research, with 33 years of experience as a reference librarian and educator. Learn about our editorial process Share Tweet Email Print Maskot / Getty Images Key Takeaways On October 20th, 2022 Surgeon General Vivek Murthy outlined a five-step framework for supporting workers mental health and well-being.This guidance comes as a response to the national mental health crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.Companies and organizations are encouraged to implement these recommendations wherever they can to improve employee satisfaction and retention. On October 20th, 2022 the US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released the Surgeon General’s Framework for Mental Health & Well-Being in the Workplace. These recommendations are intended to provide employers with guidance on how best to support the psychological health and overall well-being of their workers. It’s well understood that the COVID-19 pandemic fueled the great resignation and ultimately upended long-accepted workplace norms. This sparked an ongoing dialogue about what sort of treatment people are and aren’t willing to tolerate at their jobs. These conversations and efforts are especially crucial as we face what's now widely considered to be an international mental health crisis, in which there's been a 25% increase in depression and anxiety worldwide. "With more than 160 million people participating in the United States workforce and with the average full-time worker in the United States spending about half of their waking life at work, workplaces play a significant role in shaping our mental and physical well-being," says the US Department of Health and Human Services. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General As we recover from the worst of the pandemic, we have an opportunity and the power to make workplaces engines for mental health and well-being, and this Surgeon General’s Framework shows us how we can start. — Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General Now, with the growing popularity of concepts like “quiet quitting”—where employees silently moderate productivity in the name of their own sanity—companies and organizations are eagerly seeking advice on how to keep employees simultaneously happy and engaged. “People are recognizing just how much an impact their work has on their mental health. Everything from the physical environment to the amount of freedom workers have to manage their schedules plays a major role in their emotional well-being. And now, employers are looking for workplaces that support their well-being,” says Amy Morin, LCSW and Editor-in-Chief at Verywell Mind. What 4 Real Employers Are Doing to Support Mental Health at Their Companies Surgeon General’s Framework Protection from Harm Creating the conditions for physical and psychological safety is a critical foundation for ensuring mental health and well-being in the workplace. In order to promote practices that better assure protection from harm, workplaces can: Prioritize workplace physical and psychological safetyEnable adequate restNormalize and support focusing on mental healthOperationalize Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) norms, policies, and programs "In the past, most employers thought mental health issues weren't any of their business. But now it's clear that addressing mental health is a workplace's responsibility. When a manager normalizes mental health issues and encourages people to seek help, employees are more likely to take their mental health seriously," says Morin. Recap: A Verywell Mind Webinar—Mental Health in the Workplace Connection and Community Fostering positive social interaction and relationships in the workplace supports worker well-being. In order to promote practices that better assure connection and community, workplaces can: Create cultures of inclusion and belongingCultivate trusted relationshipsFoster collaboration and teamwork Work-Life Harmony Professional and personal roles can create work and non-work conflicts. In order to promote practices that better assure work-life harmony, workplaces can: Provide more autonomy over how work is doneMake schedules as flexible and predictable as possibleIncrease access to paid leaveRespect boundaries between work and non-work time Morin explains, "Forcing people to sit at their desks from 9 to 5 every day isn't the best way to help them be productive. Giving people some freedom and flexibility is key to helping them manage their lives outside of the office so they can be more productive when they are in the office." The Value of a Psychologically Healthy Workplace Mattering at Work People want to know that they matter to those around them and that their work matters. Knowing you matter has been shown to lower stress, while feeling like you do not can increase the risk for depression. In order to better assure a culture of mattering at work, workplaces can: Provide a living wageEngage workers in workplace decisionsBuild a culture of gratitude and recognitionConnect individual work with organizational mission Opportunities for Growth When organizations create more opportunities for workers to accomplish goals based on their skills and growth, workers become more optimistic about their abilities and more enthusiastic about contributing to the organization. In order to promote practices that better assure opportunities for growth, workplaces can: Offer quality training, education, and mentoringFoster clear, equitable pathways for career advancementEnsure relevant, reciprocal feedback Looking to the Future With Mental Health in Mind Numerous data from recent surveys reflect the need for more widespread prioritization of mental health in the workplace. Amy Morin, LCSW Everything from the physical environment to the amount of freedom workers have to manage their schedules plays a major role in their emotional well-being. — Amy Morin, LCSW According to a 2022 survey by the American Psychological Association, 81% of workers are seeking jobs that support mental health. A similar survey conducted by Harvard Business Review revealed that 84% of respondents felt their place of work had negative elements that were detrimental to their mental health. What's more, Verywell Mind's original research following the Great Resignation in 2021 found that 46% of workers were seeking alternate employment and 68% of respondents cited a desire to get help for their mental health. A shift in emphasis on mental health in the workplace would ideally strengthen employee retention and well-being on the whole. "As we recover from the worst of the pandemic, we have an opportunity and the power to make workplaces engines for mental health and well-being, and this Surgeon General’s Framework shows us how we can start. It will require organizations to rethink how they protect workers from harm, foster a sense of connection among workers, show workers that they matter, make space for their lives outside work, and support their growth. It will be worth it, because the benefits will accrue for workers and organizations alike,” says Dr. Vivek Murthy, 21st Surgeon General of the United States. Biden Admin Commits Over $300 Million to Support Kids' Mental Health 1 Source Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. World Health Organization. COVID-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.