BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — According to a 2022 study from the American Psychological Association, nearly 39 percent of workers in the US said their work environment has a negative impact on their mental health.

For many workers, the combination of long work days, lack of pay raises, and other factors can lead to mental health issues.

Dr. Jawad Zafar, a psychiatrist from Beckley, said society needs to make a major change in an effort to help employees.

“As a society, we have the burden on being able to recognize that part, so if they’re struggling, we can encourage them to get the help,” said Zafar. “We must remove the stigma away from seeking help as well. Because if someone is struggling with depression, anxiety, violence should never be the outlet.”

Dr. Zafar said the stigma runs deep and will be difficult to extinguish.

‘The studies have shown that people will show you what’s on their body before they tell you what’s on their mind,” said Zafar. “So we have to de-stigmatize that and de-stigmatize the components that are associated with seeking mental health.”

Fortunately, companies are beginning to make efforts to try and improve the mental health of their employees.

“But there are places, companies that are testing the four day work week models, and the data that I’ve looked at so far, the productivity is the same,” said Zafar. “Productivity-wise is the same actually. So that begs the question I think companies should look at it.”

Additionally, Dr. Zafar said increasing access to experts for employees to talk to will help workplace mental health.