Corporate America is facing a major mental health crisis as the pandemic accelerates worker burnout. That’s the warning from Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global.
“Now months into the pandemic, with a dark winter ahead of us, we are seeing the evidence of an increase in depression, anxiety, and worker burnout everywhere, both among those of us who have the luxury of being able to work from home and the frontline workers,” Huffington told Yahoo Finance Live.
Huffington founded Thrive Global four years ago as a behavior change platform that combines data, storytelling, and an action plan to improve work culture and support staff. It serves mostly Fortune 500 companies, including Walmart and Accenture.
“For the first time, we are seeing an unprecedented interest from the C-suite on this issue of mental health,” said Huffington. “So, it's not just a matter for HR professionals. The recognition is now clear, that the well-being and mental resilience of your employees is going to be crucial to productivity and the bottom line.”
Huffington sees a growing number of business leaders give themselves and their employees “cultural permission” to take care of their mental well-being, which she said is key since our culture has traditionally glamorized burnout.
“Employees need to feel that cultural permission before they begin to take steps that are based on the clear scientific premise that well-being and productivity are aligned,” she said.
But the co-founder of The Huffington Post said caring for our mental health needs to be a public-private partnership effort. Huffington would like to see the incoming Biden administration make our health care system more proactive by prioritizing prevention.
“So much of our health care system is not really a health care system, it's a disease care system and only 3% of the astronomical amounts we spend on health care goes to prevention,” Huffington said. “If we change our own behavior around sleep, around food, around movement, around our mental habits we can really change our medical fate.”
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
Alexis Christoforous is an anchor and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @AlexisTVNews.