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The Importance of Prioritizing Mental Health of Healthcare Employees

Individuals who work in the healthcare field have experienced a plethora of challenges within the past three years. Between increased intensity of workload, rotating or irregular shifts, increased emotional labor, and an overall sense of underappreciation, there has been a significant increase in mental health challenges among healthcare professionals. According to the Clinician of the Future 2022 report, nearly half of healthcare workers plan to leave their current positions. While some healthcare organizations have implemented evidence-based policies, programs, and solutions that identify and address burnout, very few organizations have placed emphasis on prioritizing mental health of healthcare employees despite its high level of importance. This begs the question – why should healthcare organizations prioritize the mental health of their employees?

Traditionally, healthcare culture has expected professionals to suppress their feelings when struggling. Due to stigma, workers feel that if they express their emotions, they might be judged for not being able to withstand the tough rigor and expectations within the field. Unfortunately, this dynamic has brewed a storm of mental health disruption, most notably during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation revealed from a survey that an overwhelming 55% of frontline healthcare workers reported burnout and a majority of healthcare workers (62%) reported some mental health repercussions.

Also, rates of depression, burnout, and suicide are higher among physicians than of the general public, but many are hesitant to seek care due to “consistently citing fear of negative ramifications for licensing” ( State medical license applications often ask broad questions to physicians about mental health history and how it can affect competency despite it violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. States that include these questions on their medical license application tend to have more physicians who are reluctant to seek help. These compounded rates of depression and anxiety among healthcare workers have prompted the government to provide $103 million in funds to reduce burnout and promote mental health and wellness among the healthcare workforce ( So, what efforts can be made to prioritize and provide mental health support to healthcare workers?

It is actually quite straightforward– it all comes down to cutting the stigma surrounding mental health while creating a supportive work environment. Employees who feel cared for and trust their companies often feel valued and have a sense of pride in working for their organization. According to the 2022 State of Workforce Mental Health Report by global workforce mental health partner Lyra, “robust and comprehensive” mental health benefits are a key factor for people when looking for a new job, and 59% would stay with their company if they offered these benefits.

In a health study by Lyra, it was found that high-quality mental health care boosts employee retention. Lyra found the three essential players that contribute to high-quality mental health care included a commitment to evidence-based treatments, quality measurements via clinical outcomes, and peer-reviewed research validation.

Another way organizations can prioritize their workers’ mental health is providing additional support through AI-powered services to alleviate burnout and stress caused by increased workloads. These tech-enabled services can improve work efficiencies and decrease stress by identifying and prioritizing patients, detecting issues and notifying care teams quickly, and minimizing time spent on administrative tasks. By implementing AI support into an organization that can reduce stress and burnout, it can in turn reduce errors made in the workplace. According to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, physicians whose surveys revealed signs of burnout were 2.2 times as likely to report a perceived medical error. Not only does implementation of AI improve employee satisfaction, but it also improves patient safety.

By taking efforts to prioritize healthcare worker health, employee satisfaction, efficiency, and retention will increase while levels of burnout, stress, and depression will decrease. With poor mental health numbers being at an all time high, it is crucial for healthcare organizations to take action on their employees wellbeing.


About the author:

Jennah Worthington is a Brand Ambassador Intern for and is a senior studying Healthcare & Business at Butler University. She has a passion for the pharmaceutical industry and gaining a deeper understanding of the roles of health providers, insurers, and administrators. She strives to help find ways to increase accessibility in various areas of healthcare. Jennah resides in Indianapolis and enjoys going on walks with her Dalmatian.

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