Mental Health In the Tech-Industry [A Data-driven Conversation]

Another Sunday guys, This post is to help people know they are not alone and educate others on mental health using this dataset I found online from a survey that was filled by employees in the tech industry. I will be focusing on employees in the United States because it had more data.

You can’t overemphasize the importance of mental health, especially in the workplace. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.

From the above definition, it is somewhat obvious how this plays a role in the workplace but then do employers look into this as much? does the size of the company determine access to mental health benefits? and do things like age and gender determine willingness to be open about mental health or even sick medical attention? Which group is most likely to self-diagnose and what mental issue do they think they are facing? Hopefully, we can get some insights.

Limiting the data to the United States and people that work for companies (not self-employed) we had 540 results. The data is heavily skewed towards the male gender, that is the 21st-century tech industry. Hopefully, we can diversify more. The age is somewhat balanced between people in their mid-20s and people in their mid-30s and spread out over other age groups. Companies that are small to mid-sized participated heavily in this with their response making up to 55% of the total responses.

Many companies offer benefits for mental health but do the employees know? Most people go over their benefits looking for only things that catch their attention. So for each company size, I wanted to see how knowledgeable people were of their mental health benefits.

What insights can you draw from the above? I see in all company sizes less than 50% of employees have the knowledge and/or access to their mental health benefits. The employer and employee have roles to play in this. On the Employee side, I’ll say asking questions is key to unlocking your access to all your benefits (Mental health included). Be it time-off or other benefits you might get. On the employer’s side, I would say the employer should always make the benefits they offer visible and have campaigns for mental health. It would be nice to create an environment where people are open to talking about how they feel.

Now my next question is what age group is most likely to be open to their supervisors about mental health issues and this is answered by the question, “Are you willing to discuss your mental health issue with your direct supervisor?”

What insight can you draw from the above? The younger generation (20-25) seems less willing to talk about it and also the old generation (46-50). Why could this be? As someone that falls into the younger generation, I would say the following could be factors:

  • Lack of Experience
  • Fear of Judgement
  • Little to no knowledge of mental health
  • Ignorance
  • outcomes from other employees experiences

The same could apply to the older generation but after so many years of experience, I would bet that those years of experience are the biggest factor in their unwillingness to discuss their mental health.

Seeking professional help is extremely important, it could be in form of therapy or medical help. I wondered what gender sought help, I’m sure you might be curious too and the results were quite… Remember that males make up 70% of the sample and Females make up 27%… Now… let’s get to it…

It’s sad that the above really represents how much society has shaped the mindset of most people. As a Male, I think the reason for the above result is clear. only 49% of men have tried to get help and it is sad to see this, I think these numbers should serve as a compass to any HR personnel or upper management. 68% of women have sought help which is quite a lot compared to the sample size and I think that is excellent! Others are also willing to seek help as 75% have sought help.

Now the question, “Do you feel you have a mental illness?” solidifies the last insight we drew.

Yes, 63% of men believe they have or might have some sort of mental illness and only 40% can admit that they do. while 76% of women believe that they do and 59% can admit that they think they do. you can see 9% of the women getting help don’t actually believe they have mental health issues. 82% of other genders actually feel they might have some sort of mental illness and 66% certain.

The following are the mental disorders identified in this survey:

  • Anxiety Disorder
  • post-partum / anxiety
  • Psychotic Disorder
  • Substance Use Disorder
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Eating Disorder
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Mood Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, etc.

You can read up on the different disorders in this article Types of mental health problems by

To end this nice research these were the most common diagnoses given to people that sought professional help

Anxiety Disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities and this is the most common mental disorder in the tech industry.

In conclusion, working in the tech-industry is fun, critical thinking, problem-solving, and all the activities to create products that people need and use. But it can take a toll. This article is not just for the numbers but to enlighten people on Mental health and knowing it is okay to discuss your benefits with your employer. Always try to take a day off to get it together, it is necessary and goes a long way in your productivity.

Let’s have a great week. gotta run 🙂

I will release a post later in the week breaking down the process for cleaning the dataset and will make the resources used in this post available to you guys (Queries included).

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