With Mental Health Challenging More Americans, Employees Bear the Caregiving Burden

  • 48% of employed adults surveyed said they have helped a loved one live with a mental health challenge in the past year and 80% of caregivers say helping a loved one manage a mental health challenge has impacted their own mental health as a result
  • 6-in-10 caregivers say that their work productivity has been impacted
  • More than half of surveyed workers have not informed anyone at their company about their caregiving responsibilities
  • Three-in-four caregivers wish their employer would offer more benefits focused on mental health

NEW YORK--()--While an important focus has been placed on helping employees with their own mental well-being, the latest research commissioned by New York Life Group Benefit Solutions reveals that employees also need greater support in the workplace when it comes to caring for loved ones living with a mental health challenge. In fact, nearly half of surveyed workers (48%) have helped a loved one live with a mental health challenge in the last year, and 45% of this group say their loved one is experiencing mental health challenges more often this year than in the previous year.

As a result, 8-in-10 surveyed workers said helping loved ones has impacted their own mental health and two-thirds (65%) report needing more assistance addressing their own mental health, according to the research.

"The increasing rate of mental illness is a growing concern, impacting both individuals navigating these challenges and the loved ones who are supporting them," said Meghan Shea, Vice President and Head of Strategy and Solutions at New York Life Group Benefit Solutions. “While many employers have increased benefit offerings designed to address eldercare and childcare needs, caregiving associated with mental health is an area of opportunity – and our research shows employees are turning to their workplaces for this kind of support.”

The survey indicated a greater stigma surrounding mental health discussions in the workplace, particularly for women.

  • More than half of the surveyed caregivers (53%) were female Millennials (26%) and Gen Xers (27%).
  • Female Millennials and Gen Xers reported experiencing more mental health challenges than their male counterparts, specifically anxiety for female Millennials (67% vs. 56%) and sadness for female Gen Xers (54% vs. 45%) because of their caregiving responsibilities.
  • Male Millennials were more aware of their company's mental health resources compared to female Millennials (60% vs. 51%) are more likely to say nothing would stop them from using these resources (41% vs. 34%).

"The survey results show that there is still a great deal of stigma surrounding mental health discussions in the workplace, particularly for women," said Shea. "It's concerning to see that female Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers report experiencing more mental health challenges than their male counterparts, and yet they are less likely to inform someone at work about their need for support. This highlights an opportunity for workplaces to focus on providing safe and supportive environments where employees, regardless of age or gender, feel comfortable discussing their mental health challenges and seeking the help they need."

Although caregiving is having a negative impact on their work performance, caregivers are hesitant to vocalize their concerns and needs at work.

  • 80% of caregivers surveyed said helping loved ones manage these challenges has impacted their own mental health and stress levels.
  • Most caregivers (61%) reported that helping their loved ones cope with mental health challenges has impacted their work productivity.
  • Despite feeling stressed (62%), exhausted (48%), distracted (48%), and overwhelmed (47%) at work, nearly half of caregivers avoid taking time off to support their own or a loved one's mental health (47%) due to heavy workloads (46%).
  • A significant number of caregivers, especially women (63%), have not informed their company about their need to support their loved ones' mental health.

"The data shows that caregivers are silently struggling in the workplace due to the negative impact of caregiving on their mental health and work performance. Despite feeling stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed, many caregivers hesitate to voice their needs. Employers can make a positive impact by acknowledging and addressing these challenges and creating a workplace that values the well-being of its caregivers, including considering flexible work arrangements or paid time off for caregiving needs, which can go a long way in supporting employees who are juggling the demands of caregiving and work."

Employers have an opportunity to create an even stronger culture of support around mental health and drive greater awareness of available resources.

  • Although 54% of surveyed workers are familiar with the mental health resources offered by their employer, almost half (48%) have not utilized them, either by choice (31%) or because their employer does not offer any (17%).
  • A significant majority (73%) of caregivers surveyed wish their employer would offer more mental health benefits.
  • More than a quarter (29%) of caregivers surveyed believe there isn’t anyone at their company that is equipped to help them find resources if they had mental health challenges.
  • Mental health benefits play a key role in employee satisfaction, with most caregivers saying they are important to having a positive working experience (92%), feeling supported (92%), and even remaining at their company (83%).

"Employers have the power to create a workplace culture that supports mental wellbeing and individuals at all levels can play a role,” said Shea. “Human Resources and Benefits teams can be advocates at the company level, making sure that mental health resources and programs are communicated to employees. But what's often missing are advocates at the local level, such as team leads and managers. By training managers on how to effectively discuss mental health needs with their employees, they can reinforce and drive awareness of available support during one-on-one discussions."

Survey Methodology

This poll was conducted by Morning Consult between December 9 – December 15, 2022 among a sample of 1,000 employed adults who have had their mental health impacted by caring for loved one who is facing a mental health challenge. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, age, race, educational attainment, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

About New York Life

New York Life Insurance Company (www.newyorklife.com), a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States1 and one of the largest life insurers in the world. Headquartered in New York City, New York Life’s family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. New York Life has the highest financial strength ratings currently awarded to any U.S. life insurer from all four of the major credit rating agencies2.

New York Life Group Benefit Solutions products and services are provided by the Life Insurance Company of North America or New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY, subsidiaries of New York Life Insurance Company. Life Insurance Company of North America is not authorized in NY and does not conduct business in NY.

1Based on revenue as reported by “Fortune 500 ranked within Industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual),” Fortune magazine, 5/23/2022. For methodology, please see http://fortune.com/fortune500/.
2Individual independent rating agency commentary as of 10/18/2022: A.M. Best (A++), Fitch (AAA), Moody’s Investors Service (Aaa), Standard & Poor’s (AA+).


Sara Sefcovic
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-4499


Sara Sefcovic
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-4499