Scroll to top

How To Support The Mental Health Of Gen Z’s And Millennials In The Workplace

admin - July 11, 2022 - 0 comments

Although we are two years into the COVID-19 pandemic the fallout continues to impact Gen Zs and millennials. Ongoing challenges still exist posing a threat to the mental health of many young people in the workforce. These challenges range from financial concerns to compromised work-life balance. Not to mention the emotional distress of other external factors such as national and global threats and uncertainties. This is why workplace mental health support is the key to success for gen-z and millennials.

As a psychotherapist and mental health consultant I have met with many employed clients in this age range (roughly aged 22-41) and learned about what troubles them the most. Many of these concerns are widespread and extend far beyond our nation. A recent global survey conducted by Deloitte revealed high levels and stress and anxiety among these generations.

Daily finances and long-term financial stability topped the list for both generations which are factors of workplace mental health. Heavy workloads and poor work-life balance were also factors. However starting in 2021 a new stressor made an appearance, that of worrying about mental health itself. In other words, worry over one’s mental health worsens stress and anxiety, thus further worsening mental health. This is an unhealthy loop that needs to be broken.

I believe that these findings should raise huge red flags for employers, and signal the importance of making mental health a priority in the workplace. It seems apparent that more work needs to be done in this area.

More employers have addressed mental health, but the impact still falls short

Although Gen Z and millennial employees acknowledge that their workplace has made an effort to address emotional well-being during the pandemic, many have not observed a significant impact of those efforts. A good portion of workers are still not comfortable speaking to their supervisor about feeling anxious or stressed. In fact, most of them were not forthcoming when the reason for time-off was related to mental health. This speaks to the fact that a stigma around mental health still exists.

Burnout continues to be a factor in workplace mental health

As many of us have experienced, chronic stress at work can lead to burnout. Employees in this age bracket have shared that they have witnessed a good deal of their colleagues resigning from work due to the pressure of their workloads. However, despite the fact that burnout has a large impact on retention, many employers don’t seem to be taking adequate steps to address the issue.

Flexibility and hybrid working are Important to achieve work-life balance

Gen Zs and millennials have expressed that what they need is more flexibility and more support from workplace leaders. This would translate into things such as more flexible working hours, reduced work days, mental health-related training, and the option to work remotely.

The strong preference for hybrid work is viewed as a key to better work-life balance. This model would provide the ability for productivity at work but also allow time to connect with family, friends, and meaningful activities.

It is important to note, that there is a delicate balance with the hybrid option. Some individuals report that it can be difficult to connect with colleagues and seek mentorship. Therefore, it is important for managers to be aware of these concerns, and build inclusion opportunities for hybrid and remote workers.

What actions can employers take to address workplace mental health support

So the question that looms large is “how can leaders address high rates of stress and anxiety, the stigma of mental health, and the realities of burnout? How can they transform words into effective action?” Below are some suggestions that can make a difference.

Prioritizing mental health at work: 

It is essential that mental health be a priority for businesses. This includes providing increased access to mental health resources and training. Part of this includes creating environments where people feel comfortable accessing those resources. It is important that managers learn how to identify the signs of stress, anxiety, and burnout.

Developing empathetic leadership to address the mental health stigma: 

Many employees will choose not to disclose mental health issues if they fear being stigmatized. However, if leaders are empathetic and regularly encourage open dialog about emotions and mental health this may reduce stigma and enable people to disclose. In addition,  early access to mental health support not only benefits the individual but the business as well, in terms of morale and retention.

Identifying and preventing burnout: 

Businesses need to take proactive steps towards understanding and addressing the roots of burnout and provide staff and leaders with the resources and support to prevent it. Managers need to provide frequent “wellness” check-ins with staff.  Simply reaching out and asking how things are going can open the door to ongoing communication, and be a productive first step in assessing employee stress levels and support needs.

Creating opportunities for flexibility in the workplace: 

It makes sense that flexible work can support better work-life balance, which can then improve mental well-being. Although this option isn’t possible for every position, there are many that would qualify. And if an individual can be equally productive working remotely it can be a win-win situation. As I mentioned earlier, it is essential for employers to mitigate any feelings of disconnection that may occur, by finding ways to bring people together.

It is no secret that the pandemic changed the face of the workplace as we know it. Gen Zs and millennials are still struggling to regain a sense of balance as they attempt to meet the needs of their work-life and personal life. All of these demands can take a toll on one’s mental health. In order for individuals and businesses to thrive, it is critical for employers to be aware and take action. You can contact Babita Spinelli for a consultation on workplace mental health support.


Babita Spinelli
Licensed Psychotherapist & Certified Coach.

Related posts