Our mental health

June 15, 2023

Mental health is not a common topic for a clinical laboratory magazine. However, I read two reports that I thought would also be interesting to you—particularly in regard to the topic of employee recruitment and retention. Grant Thornton, one of America’s largest accounting and advisory firms, recently released its “2023 State of Work in America” survey results and Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, released an advisory, “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation.”1,2

In the Grant Thornton survey, mental health emerged as a primary concern and an issue employees expect their employers to address and support. When responding to what is causing burnout at work, 53% of respondents indicated mental/emotional stress as the top concern. Long hours (42%), workload (42%), and shortage of workers (41%) followed. Regarding the question, “What is keeping you at your organization,” 38% said benefits and 35% said base pay. 63% of respondents stated that their benefits meet their needs; however, fewer than half (48%) see their benefits as unique or different from what another employer would provide. Kim Jacoby, a People & Organization director at Grant Thornton said, “Tailoring a total rewards package that stands out from competitors’ offerings could be a differentiator in attracting and retaining talent.”

Grant Thornton’s survey findings lead to some of the following conclusions:

  • Employee well-being is a top concern.
  • Analyze output and expectations to eliminate unnecessary work.
  • Demonstrate interest in employees' personal lives by listening.
  • Address the issues that permeate your organization—evaluate and adjust in real time.

The Surgeon General’s report tracks a decline in social connections—especially among young people—and shows that half of adults are lonely, linking it to billions of dollars in healthcare costs. The findings show that loneliness has profound effects on mental health and is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, increasing the risks of heart disease, stroke, and dementia.

In regard to our work life, this report states that “Quality social support, social integration, and regular communication among co-workers of all levels are key in preventing chronic work stress and workplace burnout.” In addition, “Workplace connectedness is also associated with enhanced individual innovation, engagement, and quality of work, all of which can influence career advancements, income, and overall economic stability.” The report provides some of the following recommendations for employers:

  • Make social connections a strategic priority in the workplace.
  • Train and empower leaders to promote connections in the workplace.
  • Leverage existing training, orientation, and wellness resources to emphasize the importance of social connection for workplace well-being, productivity, retention, and other markers of success.

Our healthcare industry is coping with burnout, stress, and employee retention challenges. I hope leaders are recognizing the importance of their staff’s mental health. I welcome your comments and questions — please send them to me at [email protected].


1. Nalwa A. American employees strive to shape work environment. Grant Thornton. Accessed June 7, 2023. https://www.grantthornton.com/insights/articles/advisory/2023/american-employees-strive-to-shape-work-environment.html.

2. Our epidemic of loneliness and isolation: The U.S. surgeon general’s advisory on the healing effects of social connection and community. Hhs.gov. Accessed June 7, 2023. https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-general-social-connection-advisory.pdf.