After showing signs of improvement in early 2021, anxiety and depressed mood were more prevalent in U.S. workers in April than before the pandemic. Additionally, stress increased 13% from March to April. Women and workers in the 40-59 age group experienced the greatest decline in these mental capacities. From March to April, stress, anxiety, depressed mood, and nonconscious negativity all worsened in working women. Workers in the 40-59 age group were also impacted. Among this middle age group, anxiety spiked 40% in the past two months. Some workers’ anxiety may stem from their feelings about returning to an office after working remotely during the pandemic. This aligns with a recent Total Brain survey of 425 Americans who were temporarily working remotely that found two-thirds are “somewhat” or “extremely” anxious about returning to work in-person.
The increased mental strain Americans are experiencing — measured by the Mental Health Index — may drive more open discussions about mental health issues. Additionally, a new Total Brain survey found 88% of surveyed working Americans want a corporate culture that embraces open mental health dialogue.
Worsening stress, anxiety, depressed mood, PTSD, sustained attention, and sleep apnea were identified across the overall population of U.S. workers or specific subsets in April.
If the mental health challenges measured in April continue over the next few months, employers and employees need to be prepared for the risk of mental disorders to rise.
Increase in worker’s risk of PTSD since start of February 2021
Both anxiety and depressed mood are currently 15% above pre-pandemic levels
Increase in anxiety among women from March to April
Rise in women’s stress in the past month
Jump in anxiety over the past two months among workers in middle age group
Anxiety is up vs. pre-pandemic level for workers between 40-59