Discussion: Mental Health in the Workplace

Companion to Literature Review: Mental Health in the Workplace and Methods & Results: Mental Health in the Workplace. Based on a paper by Misty Smith originally published for PSY 444 at Southern New Hampshire University. 


The hypothesis that was set to be answered by this study was if employers embraced treatable mental illness that they would see an increase in productivity, better health, and overall morale amongst their employees. The two companies selected for the study provided what is believed to be a comparable group of volunteers with various backgrounds. The study depended upon the volunteers to be as upfront and honest as possible when answering the questions that were presented. In order to limit bias in the data, volunteers were random and not assigned by management, not offered incentives, conducted in multiple phases, and the privacy of their data was kept as the utmost importance (Tourangeau, Brick, Lohr, & Li, 2017).  The survey results show both correlations that support the original hypothesis and opens the door to entirely new studies for the future.

In today’s society, a re-emergence of questions about mental health in correlation to the safety of individuals has been gaining grounds within the hiring and continuing employment processes of companies both small and large (Kelloway, 2017). Therefore, as previously stated the study presented within that paper used questions designed to assess employees prior and current mental health status, their confidence levels in regards to management, and their overall happiness with there employment. Furthermore, management and human resource volunteers were questioned to establish their outlooks on hiring policies and their happiness with their companies overall policies in regards to mental health and employees.

However, were the questions to the survey answered truthfully? Or were they answered with a lingering fear of loss of employment on the volunteers mind? The first set of question showed the frequency of reported mental illness within the volunteer pool. With Company A we found that the majority of new hire were comparable in numbers reporting previous and new cases of mental illness (see Table 1); however, with Company B the numbers were much lower in relation to the volunteers who reported previous or new instances of illness (see Table 2). When comparing these numbers to the results of the rest of the survey and the human resource and management survey answers we can infer that it was possible that although privacy was promised to the participants, they may not have felt safe to answer with complete honesty. An example can be seen in the answers from Employee W1NH: Company B, when asked if she had experienced any new mental illness since hiring she answered “No”, however, when asked if she had witnessed any fellow employees being treated unfairly due to a mental illness she responded with a “Yes”. The same pattern of answers can be seen with participants Employee W2NH: Company B, Employee W4NH: Company B, Employee W5NH: Company B, and so forth, with the majority of those participants responding that they were no longer employed after the four-year cycle and attributing their lack of employment on management practices. Discrimination of employees within the workplace has been a topic of discussion in numerous studies as discussed earlier with the works of Reavley, Jorm, & Morgan who stated that upwards of 62% of their study participants were unemployed due mainly to a lack of understanding of mental health issues by employers (Reavley, Jorm, & Morgan, 2017).

In summary, the conducted study showed an increase in morale and lower turn over rate for Company A who had embraced and made changes to their company policies concerning mental health. In contrast, Company B, when revisited, showed that employees who remained from the original surveys were unhappy with their work environment and had no sense of trust for their employees. Limitations of the study include the interpretation of results could be considered biased as speculation of the “why” too many of the answers were used. Future studies could be conducted that delve into a deeper explanation of why employees were happy or unhappy with management. Also, further studies could look into more of the financial gains and losses of each company involved, were profits actually increased and not just happiness and employment retention?


Kelloway, E. K. (2017). Mental health in the workplace: Towards evidence-based practice. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 58(1), 1-6. doi:10.1037/cap0000084

Reavley, N. J., Jorm, A. F., & Morgan, A. J. (2017). Discrimination and positive treatment toward people with mental health problems in workplace and education settings: Findings from an Australian National Survey. Stigma And Health, 2(4), 254-265. doi:10.1037/sah0000059

Tourangeau, R., Brick, J. M., Lohr, S., & Li, J. (2017). Adaptive and Responsive Survey Designs: A Review and Assessment. Journal Of The Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics In Society), 180(1), 203-223.

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