More than three in four U.S. employees (76 percent) have dealt with issues negatively affecting their mental health, according to new survey results from the American Heart Association (AHA). A whopping 96 percent of the workers surveyed said that mental health is as important as physical health.

Companies should provide intervention

The online survey commissioned by the AHA and conducted by The Harris Poll also revealed that 42 percent of employees say they have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder by a healthcare professional – which indicates a need for mental health services in the workplace, according to Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky, one of the executives on the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable. “With so many of our employees managing mental health conditions, it is our obligation to provide effective intervention and prioritize treating mental health on the same level as physical health,” he said.

The 43-member Roundtable, led by Gorsky and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, was established to drive innovative solutions to improve employee health and engagement through evidence-based interventions. The AHA says its goal is to improve the lives of the companies’ collective 10 million employees and family members.

Millions experience mental illness

Despite a growing awareness of the importance of addressing mental health disorders, the CDC says social stigma and discrimination associated with mental illnesses remain significant barriers to an individual’s health and may also prevent an employee from seeking help. Roughly 43.8 million U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The CEO Roundtable will release the complete findings of the survey, along with mental health program summaries from member companies, in a report later this year.

“Like chronic diseases, mental health conditions are treatable,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “Employers can create supportive and healthy work environments and provide innovative resources that enhance their employee’s overall physical and mental health and general well-being.”

Nutrition, healthcare costs are other concerns

Other topics on the 2018 CEO Roundtable meeting agenda are to:

  • Evaluate the role of emerging technologies around nutrition, physical activity and mindset to improve health;
  • Discuss strategies to create healthcare value through cost transparency and establishing prudent healthcare decision-making;
  • Participate in a custom-designed segment to maximize energy, improve well-being, and fuel higher performance from Johnson & Johnson’s Human Performance Institute; and
  • Discuss the prevalence of opioid misuse, substance abuse and how they relate to mental health issues in a follow-up to the CEO Roundtable Leadership Pledge to combat the opioid epidemic.

Guide: Prioritizing Your Mental Health at Work