Corporate social Responsibility

Spotlight on Mental Health: The importance of caring for caregivers.

New York Life | March 23, 2023

Research from New York Life Group Benefit Solutions highlights opportunities for employers.

While an important focus has been placed on employers helping their employees with their own mental wellbeing, the latest research conducted 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.

Who is a mental health caregiver?

  •  More than half of the surveyed caregivers (53%) were female Millennials (26%) and Gen Xers (27%).

How are these caregivers impacted?

  • As a result of their caregiving responsibilities, female Millennials and Gen Xers report 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%).
  • Male Millennials are more aware of their company's mental health resources compared to female Millennials (60% vs. 51%) and are more likely to say nothing would stop them from using these resources (41% vs. 34%).

How can employers help? Meghan Shea, Vice President and Head of Strategy and Solutions at New York Life Group Benefit Solutions, offers five ways employers can build a greater culture of support for mental health caregivers:

1.     Evaluate and take inventory of current available benefits – 73% of surveyed caregivers wish their employers would offer more benefits focused on mental health.

2.     Drive ongoing awareness of available mental health resources – Only half (54%) of caregivers surveyed are familiar with the mental health resources offered by their employer.

3.     Create training and education specific to mental health needs – Just 26% of caregivers say their company offers training to help them identify mental health needs, while 22% say their employer offers trainings to help prepare them for conversations with loved ones about mental health challenges.

4.     Develop advocates for mental wellbeing throughout your organization – More than a quarter (29%) of caregivers surveyed believe that there is no one at their company who is equipped to help them find mental health resources if they had a mental health challenge

5.     Consider offering paid time off for caregiving needs, along with flexible work arrangements – 46 percent of surveyed caregivers say the leading reason for not taking time off work to support their own or a loved one’s mental health is feeling like they have too much work to do.

Why it matters:

  • 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.
  •  8-in-10 surveyed workers say helping loved ones has impacted their own mental wellbeing and two-thirds (65%) report needing more assistance addressing their own mental health as a result.

The bottom line: “The increasing rate of mental illness is a growing concern, impacting both individuals navigating these challenges and the loved ones who are supporting them,” says Shea. “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.”

This poll was commissioned by New York Life and 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.

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.


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Media contact

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