American breaking point: 1 in 4 workers have quit their job over mental health

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AUSTIN, Texas — The Great Resignation is no myth. Americans are leaving the workforce in droves and a new study is revealing one of the main reasons for this exodus. It turns out more than one in four people have quit their job for the sake of their mental health.

In a poll of more than 2,000 working Americans by career guidance service JobSage, researchers found that 28 percent say they’ve left a job in the last two years because of its impact on their mental health. Nearly two in five Americans have considered quitting for this reason.

The report shows that 55 percent of workers have experienced significant stress in the past year, while 38 percent report having symptoms of depression. A similar number of people say lack of motivation (37%) and anxiety (36%) are making work more difficult. Just under a third have dealt with feelings of anger (31%).

The survey also finds that stress from work ranks as having the second-worst impact on a person’s mental health — finishing only behind stress due to their finances (42%). Over the last year, over half the poll say they’ve experienced job-related stress and more than a third have experienced depression, anxiety, or a lack of motivation because of their work.

The three biggest reasons for these issues are workers feeling overworked (37%), lack of work-life balance (33%) and being underpaid (31%).

What do workers need to survive mentally?

Oddly enough, only one in five people say their employer doesn’t do enough when it comes to caring about workers’ mental health. Moreover, 70 percent of these employees still consider themselves happy.

While this seems like a high number, the survey also finds a staggering 98 percent of workers who are at companies who take care of their mental health are happy. So, how can employers make things better so workers don’t quit?

Nearly half the poll (47%) want their employers to commit to providing a healthier work-life balance. Another 42 percent want more time off and 41 percent are looking for more flexibility in their schedule.

It’s OK to take a ‘mental health day’ at work

As mental health becomes a more accepted topic in modern society, mental health days are growing in popularity at offices around the country. In fact, three in four respondents say they’ve used a mental health day to relieve stress and reduce burnout. However, 66 percent of workers taking mental health days say they still felt guilty about doing so.

Even so, nearly 80 percent of the poll believe they would be open and honest about the reason they’re taking a mental health day. Two in five people want their company to discuss mental health issues in the workplace. Even if their job won’t do this, three in four people would be willing to talk about their mental health with a co-worker. However, only one in five respondents feel comfortable about discussing these issues with Human Resources.

Use it or lose it

For companies that are stepping up to provide mental health services for workers, the survey finds they’re not going to waste. Researchers find 86 percent of respondents who have mental health benefits at their job use them. These most often include online therapy, emotional support lines, and in-person therapy sessions.

Unfortunately, four in five workers don’t have these benefits or don’t know if their job offers them.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

The contents of this website do not constitute advice and are provided for informational purposes only. See our full disclaimer


  1. Many have become used to working from home due to COVID and thus not having to do as much work or answer to supervisors for lack of production, slacking off or just not doing their jobs and being argumentative.
    Once they have to go back to an office and face others, they get depressed that they have to again work for a living and be held accountable for their actions and words. Many of these “resignations” are actually people given a choice to quit or be fired.

    1. What a bullshit response. People are stressed to the max and finally have the ability to stand up for themselves due to a worker shortage

    2. Really? Where did you pull your opinion out of?
      Most of the people I know go above and beyond every week because they can’t figure out that work\life balance. Oh, “I worked 60 hours this week but my company will only pay me 40 hours a week”. When you work at home either you become start getting lax/distracted easily or you can’t turn it off. I haven’t had an actual supervisor in almost 8 years (he is in another state). The only reason I talk to him is for supplies once or twice a year. They haven’t visited in that time either because everything works fine in my section of the network. I am leaving in a week for a new position because I have worked here for too long, my skills are stagnating and eventually you are underpaid because of the market.

    3. The physical Corpporate office isnt the productive utopia you seem to believe it is in many, many companies. During the pandemic many large companies placed hiring freezes on their staff due to market uncertainty and employees were told to “do more with less”. I went from working 8-10 hour days pre-pandemic to 12-16 hour days during the pandemic and this was expected by Corporate leadership due to the lack of a commute and since they chose not to backfill vacated positions during the pandemic. I too joined the Great Resignation for the aforementioned reasons, despite my WFH days being significantly more productive piece-per-hour.

    4. Road Apples, employers/managers are piling on more workload to make up for the lack of qualified people and the aging out of the workforce. I’m 61, 62 I’m outta here

    5. Another internet response by a likely unemployed/underemployed loser trying to curry favor with corporate executives, too stupid to realize they don’t know who he is nor do they care. Same nonsense we see in politics and with incels trying to white knight online to thirst over women.

      People like you are the reason why society has ground to a halt. We really can’t let low IQ losers have a voice anymore. Not only on the internet but they also really shouldn’t have a vote. What a mess. There’s a reason why only landowners initially had a vote, the Founding Fathers were not fools; they knew the common man was too stupid to have minds of any worth. We need to go back to that mentality.

    6. What an absolute narrow minded BS response.

      Fact – Worked from home 032020-062020. Forced to go back to the office. Procedures supposedly put in place for health and protection. Actually NOT.

      Husband immunecompromised, forced back into the office with people taking 0 precautions….

      Locked in my office for 9 months. Signs on the door. Please wear a mask. I had to keep masks in my drawer to hand to them as they strolled on into my office.

      I quit March 2021 when the church organization I worked for started asking me to pad numbers in the books so they could keep more cash at the local level. Yes I worked form y church and I was treated like dog shit on their shoe.

      I quit.

      Lost my job. Lost my community support. Treated like a pariah. Wound up inpatient, IOP’s etc. Yes. They really contributed to breaking me.

      Dishonest, lack of integrity, no ethics, and they are not representative of the God I have come to know and love. I’m now nondenominational thank you very much.

  2. Corporate production standards around my area are subscribing to forcing mandatory overtime instead of paying to stay adequately staffed at any time. This was long before COVID causing worker shortages. I’ve worked several jobs that lay off a week or two after there is no mandatory overtime to the point it could be predicted 3 or 4 times a year, while supervision (or higher when I became supervision and started advocating for my team) blamed the overtime on understaffing. One gave me approx 3 days off a month for a year and a half and they had 3 MONTHS of inventory available to clients which they refused to utilize, I assume as deterrent to worker strikes/walkouts (they still voted not to unionize.) With small children and many interests my mental health declined to the point I was hospitalized 5 or 6 times for suicidal ideation and then I had an active attempt to kill myself. Bouncing back from that helped me realize it wasn’t worth it so I left at the first opportunity for another job paying enough for me to live on and recommend anyone else to follow suit. Now, I’m long term recovery I work as a peer support to help others do the same. Corporate production is the most toxic industry I’ve ever seen, and I’m a jack of all trades (ace of a few.)

  3. I am seriously considering retiring at the age of 59 because of nonsense in the workplace, mostly ” woke” 20 somethings and their HR counterparts. It is to the point now that ANYTHING you say is going to be twisted and construed as racist, homophobic or violent. In addition, with the march of technology and outsourcing to countries like China, all the work in the US is now mundane and pointless.

  4. Prior to COVID, I would have said I will take early retirement in 2022. I’m chronically burned out emotionally and frequently tired physically from over-work at an under-staffed chemical company which suffers self-imposed disaster after self-imposed disaster. But with the world still a mess from the pandemic, with inflation running at 7-15% per year depending upon whom you believe, and a Nazi in the Kremlin running loose in Europe, I think I’ve changed my mind.

    Then again, with the company about to file for Chapter 11 in the coming weeks, I might not get the choice.

  5. My job is just plain stressful because my boss willhave us start a job, then before finishing have ua start 2 or 3 other jobs, then when the first job is past due, starts a mad scramble to get it done, then start a other jobs ahead of the other partial started jobs. I’m ready to quit. Nothing to do with covid, just tired of working for a cluster f who keeps losing the company money through his stupidity.

  6. Think about this: With the National Debt spiralling upwards, out of control; the yearly interest on the Debt is absorbing a significant fraction of national productivity. It is the worker who has to pay this. What is he or she getting in return for this work that they perform to pay that interest?
    Sounds exactly like slavery to me. And if you don’t understand this, i suggest that you do a little rumination……America is once again turning into a slave economy.

  7. This is a direct result of the new shift from responsibility for one’s self to the full blown dependence on everyone else. The new millennials are a weak and beaten bunch who just need a big hug and assurance that everything will be OK. GFY….

    1. You are spot on. My 38 year old son, an Army Sergeant veteran (served 5 years during Iraq wars), has worked, then quit after a year or two of employment, several times since 2006. I believe he has been taught Millennial behaviors while getting his Bachelors in Business at a local liberal college. He can afford to quit his jobs because he lives rent free in his father’s mobile home in FL. I’m really worried about him and his future.

  8. I work in an office of 30 people. Meetings and events, in person, did not stop, even during the pandemic. The first meeting and event planner quit in January 2020, the second one in January 2021, the third quit in December 2021 and the CEOs executive assistant just quit last week. We are all overworked and burned out. Planning meetings and events is one of the top 10 most stressful jobs to begin with and then when you add all of the additional components due to covid-19 with health and safety requirements, state restrictions on the number of people that can fit in meeting rooms, the creation of legal waivers to protect your company, working with hotels that are 10% staffed, etc, made our jobs 10 times harder. And the company never once said we need to give you more support. The rest of us who are still there have looked for another job but are holding out hope that things change. But we’re not going to hold our breath much longer.

  9. Bunch of soft babies, I have worked my whole life and faced all kinds of stress, just got to suck it up buttercup. My question is if people are quitting jobs how are the supporting themselves? I bet I know

  10. I always thought Employee Assistance Plans were a bunch of liberal feel good bs. Until I realized that being a conservative in a liberal workplace was toxic. I retired as a Math Teacher in 2018 and have never looked back. Now I see CRT/BLM/ANTIFA/LGBT being mainstreamed into the schools and I am appalled. My younger friends can’t wait to leave because they see the children being indoctrinated not being educated. The Plan helped me understand I could care about my kids and do what was best for me, too.
    I spent a year learning how to weld at a public community college and love it. No politics or lifestyle choices being shoved up my nose, I just burn metal all day. Working with real adults who care and promote a healthy workplace is my preference.

  11. When the formula changed from Work to Eat, people had a choice. This choice results in considering possibilities that in the past were impossibilities, such as eating without working. As long as that is made possible by wealth transfer and un-safety nets, people will fall off of the Work life naturally. Reward sloth and sloth returns the favor.

  12. We don’t own our lives, we rent them from our employers. THEY tell US how much time we’ll get to have to ourselves and with our families, and on what terms.

    Do you think they care? Why would they? There’s no money in it.

    Market capitalism seeks to commodify every aspect of life, including people. That which is not amenable to commodification is disregarded as irrelevant.

  13. I work 8 hours a day and commute 3 hours, and that’s because I’ve worked out a schedule where I start at 10, this allows me less traffic during my commute in comparison to rush hour, and it still takes me and hour and a half to go 50 miles, I literally have no life, no free time, and no reason to live, then high gas prices smack me in the face, I’m so over this, I think I’ll quite and get a chance to experience living before I get too old, I’m 43

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