Teladoc Health Unveils International Study Revealing Depth & Impact of Entrenched Mental Health Stigma in the Workplace

October 07, 2019


  • 82% of those with a diagnosed mental health condition did not confide in workplace management
  • Younger employees report poorer mental health than older age groups across all categories
  • 40% of employees have given a false reason for mental health related time off
  • 40% welcome remote forms of care & 50% want executives to help normalize the mental health conversation

PURCHASE, NY, October 8, 2019 -- Results of a new international study into workplace mental health reveal the extent to which workplace stigma around the topic is impacting both medical outcomes and employers' bottom lines. The research exposes the true scale of mental health problems in the workplace, the magnitude of under reporting of mental health conditions, and what might be preventing people from seeking the support they need.

The study of 3,894 employees across four major international markets including the US, Canada, Australia and the UK was conducted by Ipsos MORI and commissioned by global virtual care experts Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC).

Mental health stigma is preventing employees from seeking support at work

The research shows that 82% of employees who have had a mental health diagnosis have kept their difficulties hidden from workplace management, mainly because they feared a negative impact on their career (38%). When offered a range of reasons for not telling their employers, 22% worried that others' professional opinion of them would be tarnished, with 21% saying they felt embarrassed, and 17% believing their capability at work would be questioned. Most concerningly, one in ten (10%) believed that confiding in someone at work about their poor mental health could lead to them losing their job.

Dr John Oldham, Professor of Psychiatry at Menninger Clinic, said:

"While society is generally promoting the conversation about mental health, the data show that employees don't want to and don't know how to talk about it at work. Not surprisingly, stigma is the biggest obstacle in obtaining help for mental health problems."

"The belief is pervasive and persistent that raising your hand for help with problems like depression, bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health issues will only be career limiting," added Dr. Oldham.

Employees call for leaders to take action on stigma and provide meaningful support

Employees say that greater education in the workplace about mental health is needed, along with greater access to the right support. More than four in ten (43%) of employees agree not enough is being done to raise awareness about mental health in their workplace. Over half (55%) agree more should be done in their workplace to improve mental health, with more than a third (38%) saying they would be more productive at work if there was better mental health support.

Crucially, employees want a more frank and transparent approach in their workplace, with 50% agreeing that when executives and leaders talk openly about their mental health at work, it encourages them to feel more comfortable about their own mental health. Furthermore, nearly half of employees (45%) say they would be more likely to seek mental health support when they need it if there were to be more open conversations in their workplace on this topic.

Commenting on the report, Jason Gorevic, CEO, Teladoc Health, said:

"We've seen it first-hand with our own global workforce; employees want leaders to lead, to set the dialogue in motion around mental health and normalize the conversation. For employers and employees alike, there is substantial health and economic value in getting individuals the right diagnosis, action plan and support needed to be well and productive in life and at work."

Mental health struggles are commonplace, hitting younger workers harder, and impacting productivity and absenteeism rates

Employees, both with and without a formal diagnosis, are experiencing mental health challenges that affect their wellbeing at work, with younger workers suffering the most, indicative of the growing need for this to be addressed. During a sample period of two weeks, employees reported the following:

Statement 18-25s All ages (18-65)
I often or always feel stressed or anxious at work 41% 30%
I rarely or never feel mentally and emotionally healthy 28% 16%
Mental health symptoms have affected my job performance 61% 38%
I have missed work because of my mental and emotional health 66% 44%

The study shows that over two thirds (67%) of younger workers (18-25s) worry about their mental health, compared to just less than half (48%) of all ages. Diagnosis is also more common in younger workers with 38% saying they have had a mental health diagnosis compared to 27% of all ages, highlighting this as a growing trend that employers need to address.

Access to the right information and support are necessary to improve workplace mental health

Of those who have experienced ­poor mental health in the past and received support, one of the most effective solutions for feeling better was having access to professional mental health support through their workplace (71%). Furthermore, 43% of respondents who selected stigma as a reason for not confiding in someone at work want remote forms of mental health care.

Mr. Gorevic concluded:

"Our study confirms that stigma surrounding mental health not only exists in the workplace but is deeply rooted. With the younger generation fuelling our workforces and necessitating leaders to take action, the time is now to tackle this pressing global issue. Virtual care can deliver employees the needed support on their terms, filling a critical gap in access to mental healthcare services for whatever issue an individual may be struggling with."

To access and download the full research report, visit

About the study:

On behalf of Teladoc Health, Ipsos MORI interviewed n=3894 participants online. The study was carried out across 4 countries with n=1000 interviewed in US, n=1000 in UK, n=964 in Canada and n=930 in Australia. All participants were adults aged between 18-65 & in full or part-time employment. Quotas based on census data available were set for age, gender and region in order that the sample reflects the known profile of the working population in each country. We excluded "freelancer" and "self-employed" adults to focus on workplace employees. The quota limits for region in USA and UK were eventually removed during the final week of fieldwork so that overall target of n=1000 in these countries could be met. Fieldwork took place between August 12th, 2019 to September 13th, 2019.

About Teladoc Health

A mission-driven organisation, Teladoc Health, Inc. is successfully transforming how people access and experience healthcare, with a focus on high quality, lower costs, and improved outcomes around the world. The company's award-winning, integrated clinical solutions are inclusive of telehealth, expert medical services, AI and analytics, and licensable platform services. With more than 2,000 employees, the organisation delivers care in 130 countries and in more than 30 languages, partnering with employers, hospitals and health systems, and insurers to transform care delivery. For more information, please visit or follow @TeladocHealth on Twitter.

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