Front-line workers more likely to suffer mentally – but less likely to get help

'Organizations reliant on these essential workers must prioritize awareness and access to needed benefits'

Front-line workers more likely to suffer mentally – but less likely to get help

Employers in the United States are being urged to take steps in improving the access and awareness of frontline workers on the mental well-being benefits available to them.

The call comes as a survey from meQuilibrium (meQ) among 1,183 US-based workers revealed that frontline workers are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression at work, but are less likely to seek support than their non-frontline colleagues.

"Given both the elevated risk factors and participation obstacles frontline employees face, organizations reliant on these essential workers must prioritize awareness and access to needed benefits across this vulnerable population," said Brad Smith, chief science officer at meQ, in a statement.

"Employers relying on these essential employees have a vested interest in closing this gap through proactive outreach and education to improve benefit awareness and utilization around mental well-being."

Anxiety, depression among frontline workers

The survey from meQ revealed that rates of anxiety and depression among frontline workers are 33% and 61% higher than their non-frontline peers.

"Frontline workers regularly interact with frustrated customers, work irregular shifts, lack paid time off, and have minimal autonomy over duties assigned by managers, which can contribute to higher rates of burnout, anxiety, depression, and secondary traumatic stress, compared to their corporate colleagues," Smith said.

And despite suffering more than their non-frontline colleagues, the report found that frontline employees are 30% less likely to seek out professional assistance, compared to their non-frontline counterparts.

Smith pointed out that using mental wellbeing benefits to seek professional help should not be a last resort move among frontline employees, who usually take time off when suffering from stress. Employers would also benefit if they took steps to change this.

"Given the powerful connection between mental well-being and performance, closing this knowledge gap can lead to a healthier, more productive workforce, especially among frontline workers across industries like transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, and hospitality," Smith said.

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