NEWS17 September 2021

Mental health deteriorates among US researchers

Covid-19 News North America People Trends Wellbeing

US – Rates of poor mental health have risen in the past year among market research professionals in the US, according to research from the Insights Association and Opinium.

Woman holding head while seated at desk

The report, Mental wellbeing in the US insights sector 2021, found that 87% of respondents experienced poor mental health in the past year, a two-percentage point increase on 2020.

The research also found a 10% rise in reports of exhaustion and burnout, and an 8% increase in depression.

The results are based on a survey carried out between June and July 2021 of 258 research and insights professionals, with the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale used to examine respondents’ mental health.

The results show that three-fifths ( 57%) of respondents felt they had too much work to do to be able to take any time off for the sake of their mental health.

More than half of professionals said that impending deadlines and targets were causing stress, and 52% said their workload was too much to handle, up from 47% in 2020.

However, Covid-19 dropped from being the leading source of stress in the survey, with 22% of respondents citing it compared with 45% in 2020.

Social and political issues were raising stress levels, such as political unrest ( 82%), race issues ( 77%) and economic downturn ( 64%), with 36% saying that political unrest was making them feel ‘very stressed’.

Home working had caused 72% of respondents to feel more relaxed and 70% said that no commute had a positive mental health impact, but 60% said they struggled to get time outside during the working day, 55% said there was a work-life balance issue and 49% were working longer hours at home.

Melanie Courtright, chief executive of the Insights Association, said: “This should serve as a stark reminder that leaders in our industry must keep an eye on team workloads, actively manage the balance and encourage time off when appropriate.

“We need to prevent situations from reaching the phase of exhaustion and burnout – quality of work suffers, and more importantly, quality of life.”

Courtright added: “This report pinpoints red flags for market research organisations and furthers the conversation about mental health.

“As an industry we cannot shy away from this topic. We’re making progress in diminishing the stigma that still marks mental wellness in the workplace and Insights Association is committed to continuing this effort.”