ThriveNYC’s larger goal of reaching New Yorkers where they are means putting mental health front and center where they live, learn, and work. ThriveNYC’s strategic partnerships aim to to identify place-based approaches that can both increase the supply of and demand for mental health services. This includes a diverse set of partnerships spanning schools, libraries and non-profits, and as you mentioned, workplaces.
Specifically, Thrive in your Workplace engages New York City employers in an effort to increase access to mental health care and support. The workplace has long been a powerful driver for social change – from influencing civil rights, to women’s rights, to LGBTQ inclusiveness,
among many other issues – and the dynamism of our local economy offers us an opportunity to leverage workplaces as on ramps to mental health care, and to ensure that NYC workers and organizations are equipped to meet their potential.
In NYC, workers across industries spend more time at work than their counterparts in other cities, on average, not to mention that New Yorkers typically experience longer commuting times, which only adds to the burden of daily life. While NYC workplaces are often at forefront of innovation, the fast pace of work can come at a cost; these workplace environments can be stressful in their own right, or even aggravate underlying mental health conditions. Workplace stressors affect all aspects of our lives as they relate to job security and financial stability, interpersonal and relational dynamics, workload and work/life balance, fit with values, among many others.
Alongside the daily stress faced by New Yorkers, the rise of mental health challenges also has a profound impact on the workplace. Poor mental health can be costly to both individuals and their employers. In NYC alone, depression and substance abuse are estimated to cost $14 billion in lost productivity. That, employee wellbeing aside, is a strong incentive for many employers. On top of it, we know that there is demand from employees for an increase focus on mental health: A recent national poll of U.S employees found that nine out of ten respondents agreed that employers have a responsibility to support mental health, with many respondents stating that employers can do more than they are currently doing in relation to mental health benefits and support at work.
There is a burgeoning body of research showing that mental health interventions delivered in the workplace are effective at improving mental health, while innovative partnerships and digital technologies can provide new opportunities to increase access to care and support employees to live emotionally healthy lives both in and outside of the workplace.