Mental Health Awareness Month: How to spot signs of worker stress

May, the month dedicated to Mental Health Awareness, is crucial for us to acknowledge and understand the various pressures we face—from childcare and soaring rent to economic challenges. 

A recent study has brought to light a concerning fact: 48% of workers are battling with stress, a significant number that demands our attention and action.

"One of the things that they're [employers] paying attention to is when people stop communicating. So if your employee stops checking in, stop sending those longer emails that say, 'Hey, how was your weekend?' But now they're sending the one-word responses that can be a surefire sign that perhaps something's going on with them in their life," Dr. Jessica Kriegel, a chief scientist of Workplace Culture at Culture Partners, said.


What in particular are New Yorkers stressed about?

Between the upcoming presidential election, the war in Gaza, and climate change are adding to New Yorkers stress levels this year, APA senior director and clinical psychologist Dr. C. Vaile Wright said.

Kriegel travels the globe, helping companies transform their corporate culture successfully. She says checking in with your employees goes a long way.

"An easy way to check in with someone is to say, 'how are you doing?' Pause. 'No, really, how are you doing?' Give them that entry to have a real conversation because we all say fine. When someone asks us how we're doing, we want to give them the space to be vulnerable if that's what they need," Kriegel said.

Dr. Kriegel says research shows that employees who felt that their management communicated well with them were four times less likely to be stressed.

Perks and benefits are also good incentives, according to Dr. Kriegel. 

The alternative is a movement sweeping across offices called "resenteeism," which could have devastating effects on workplace productivity.

"It's a new way of quiet quitting. I still need a paycheck, but I'm so burned out that I'm going to do the bare minimum in order to continue to gather that paycheck. It's a sad trend," Kriegel said. 

Kriegel says the 'I don't need anyone; I can do it myself' mindset is prevalent in our society, and she says this attitude contributes to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Furthermore, she points out that the World Happiness Report identifies a lack of connection as the primary cause of unhappiness.