The American Workplace: Lonely, Hostile

A survey by Mental Health America (MHA) has found that 80 percent of workers tend to work alone because of unhelpful or hostile work environments.

MHA created the  on-line survey about three months ago to measure levels of bullying and psychological wellness in the American workplace. Founded in 1909, the MHA calls itself the nation’s leading community-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping all Americans achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives. So far, the survey has generated 2000 responses.

The research is supported by the Initiative to Create Psychologically Healthy Workplaces , an effort launched by the private Faas Foundation to explore bullying and wellness in the workplace and to create methods to assess psychological health and eliminate the unnecessary stress. The Faas Foundation was founded in 2005 by Andrew Faas, a one-time Canadian business executive  who claims that he learned about the devastating impact of a hostile workplace environment first-hand after blowing the whistle on a corrupt business executive. The Foundation is also supporting research by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation (CAMH).

Other findings of  the MHA surveyare:

  • Eighty-three percent of those surveyed reported that their company is overly focused on trivial activities.
  • Despite the difficulties they face, 41 percent of people in unhealthy work environments report that rarely or never miss work due to work related stress.

According to the Faas Foundation, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence will “bring the skills of emotional intelligence into the new initiative to improve mental health in the workplace  across Canada and the U.S. by creating psychologically healthy workplaces.”

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world’s leading research centers in this field. CAMH is creating a new program called Well @ Work., which will be Canada’s most comprehensive, evidence-based service and resource to promote mental health in the workplace.

Faathe bully traps says he hopes the initiative “ will result in greater awareness for employees, c-suite executives, board of directors and all those who are responsible for creating and sustaining healthy work environments.”  Faas is the author of book on workplace bullying  written from the perspective of an executive called, The Bully’s Trap.

The United States lags far  behind other industrialized countries in addressing the problem of workplace bullying.   There is no federal or state law prohibiting workplace bullying. The U.S. Occupational and Safety and Health Administration is charged with eliminating  health and safety threats to American workers but has done virtually nothing about workplace bullying, which is a well-document and potentially severe threat to the mental and physical health of American workers.