February 8, 2024

The final blog in our three-part series on workplace fears examines employee mental health concerns and its effects on organizations. 

Traliant’s 2024 survey report “Fear Factors: Workplace Violence, Harassment and Mental Health,” found that 86% of survey respondents believe employers need to do more to address the mental health needs of employees in the workplace. Almost 1 in 4 respondents cited “toxic management practices” as the leading cause for poor mental health at work.  

The findings reveal employees want employers to make mental health a priority to create a workplace environment where they can feel both physically and emotionally safe. 

When employees feel anxious about their safety at work, it can compromise their mental well-being. Incivility at work causes stress, anxiety and feelings of isolation — emotions that increase the risk for mental health issues, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  

Left unaddressed, mental health issues can become a catalyst for more serious actions, including workplace violence. Employees who feel unsupported or overwhelmed by their mental health struggles may become agitated, aggressive or paranoid, leading to unsafe behavior, including physical violence. 

Neglecting employees’ emotional wellness can have many repercussions for organizations, from rising healthcare costs to declines in productivity and higher turnover:  

  • Mental health claims are among the top 5 leading medical claim costs in employer-provided medical plans according to a Mercer Health Trends 2024 Report.  
  • According to Gallup, missed work due to poor mental health is estimated to cost the US economy $47.6 billion annually in lost productivity. 
  • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that turnover due to toxic cultures has cost organizations an estimated $223 billion over the past five years. 

Providing a psychologically safe workplace allows employees to confidently express their concerns and resolve disputes, makes them feel heard and valued, as well as supported when seeking mental health assistance.  

When asked what types of mental support measures they’d like to see employers implement, survey respondents’ top three responses were counseling (35%), mental health assessment tools (19%) and access to mental health apps (18%).  

Opting-in to employee assistance programs (EAPs) and offering them as part of a total benefits package is one-way employers can proactively help employees address mental health issues and reduce the stigma associated with seeking help. EAPs offer low or no-cost services that assist employees with medical needs like counseling or addiction recovery as well as other issues that may affect mental health, such as finding child or elder care, financial counseling, and more. 

Other steps organizations can take to promote good mental health include: 

Educating Employees: Provide training that not only addresses the prevention of workplace violence and harassment but also educates employees on emotional wellness and how to identify and address the early signs of mental health problems. 

Implementing Supportive Policies: Establish policies that promote a safe and inclusive work environment. These policies should include anonymous mechanisms for reporting concerns and incidents of violence, harassment and other misconduct, and support structures for mental health. 

Providing Mental Health Resources: Offer mental health support, such as 24/7 counseling services, workshops and support groups. Reinforce that EAPs are confidential, and the services are free to employees and their families. Ensure employees are aware of the resources available to them and feel comfortable utilizing them.  

Leadership Involvement: Ensure managers promote an open-door policy and schedule one-on-one meetings with team members to learn about changes, problems or challenges they may be facing that could be affecting their mental health.  

Traliant Resources 

For more on how employees experience workplace violence, harassment and mental health issues, read Traliant’s full report “Fear Factors: A 2024 Employee Survey Report on Workplace Violence, Harassment and Mental Health.” 

For more information on Traliant’s Emotional Wellness training, click here.  

Read Part 1 in our series of workplace violence. 
Read Part 2 in our series on workplace harassment. 



Mark Hudson