Surgeon general releases framework to support worker mental health

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on HealthLeaders.

With staffing shortages exacerbated by the stress of the pandemic, the Great Resignation, and the "quiet quitting" trend, there's been a shift in the relationship healthcare workers have with their jobs. According to an American Psychological Association survey, 81% of workers said when looking for future jobs, they will look for workplaces that support their mental health.

In a newly released framework that focuses on worker mental health and well-being, the United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy advises business leaders to create policies and practices to support workers.

According to a release about the framework from the Department of Health and Human Services, employers have the opportunity to invest in the mental health of their employees, benefitting not only the workforce but the success of the organization.

"A healthy workforce is the foundation for thriving organizations and healthier communities. As we recover from the worst of the pandemic, we have an opportunity and power to make workplace engines for mental health and well-being, and this Surgeon General's Framework shows us how we can start," Murthy said in a statement.

"It will require organizations to rethink how they protect workers from harm, foster a sense of connection among workers, show workers that they matter, make space for their lives outside work, and support their growth," he said. "It will be worth it because the benefits will accrue for workers and organizations alike."

Healthcare leaders should take notice of this framework and implement it into their own organizations for a healthy workforce and successful business.

The framework outlines five methods organizations can implement to support their employee's mental health and well-being:

  1. Protection from harm. Creating the conditions for physical and psychological safety is a critical foundation for ensuring mental health and well-being in the workplace.
  2. Connection and community. Fostering positive social interaction and relationships in the workplace supports worker well-being.
  3. Work-life harmony. Promoting practices that better ensure professional and personal roles work in harmony.
  4. Mattering at work. People want to know that they matter to those around them and that their work matters.
  5. Opportunities for growth. When organizations create more opportunities for workers to accomplish goals based on their skills and growth, workers become more optimistic about their abilities and more enthusiastic about contributing to the organization.
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Leadership Insight, Quality