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Turns out toxic workplaces are literally bad for mental health

The big news of recent years has been focused on social media being bad for mental health, but did you know workplaces could also contribute?

Women in a room discussing toxic workplaces

Unhealthy work conditions have OFFICIALLY been declared harmful for mental and physical health. Of course, we all know this, and the amount of people that have made this realization has increased dramatically over the years. In a groundbreaking report on Thursday, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned that “long hours and cutthroat work conditions” are hurting us. This is the first time the surgeon general’s office has spoken up about the potentially catastrophic effects of “toxic” workplaces. It came just in time- as Americans reconsider their positions in large numbers amid the resignation and quiet quitting phenomenon we’re quietly going through. 

The report delves into several of the factors that go into the negative impact harsh work conditions have on the American people. 

  • Extensive Workloads 
  • Wavering Schedules 
  • Low Wages 
  • Really Long Commutes 
  • Limited Autonomy 

A multitude of workplace stressors were mentioned, including the above. Surgeon General states that these factors have a strong impact on health and organizational performance, which is a point many have been trying to make for a really long time. 

Also mentioned were the effects of discrimination, harassment, and hostile or dangerous working conditions, as well as “toxic,” disrespectful, and non-inclusive workplaces. These pile on more pressure against workers and will lead to chronic stress, the report says. 

Chronic stress has been linked to numerous short and long-term health issues like anxiety, depression, and potential substance abuse or misuse. Stress also interferes with sleep, which can decrease the quality of life and increase the risk for other health conditions. Among those conditions may be heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. 

The Surgeon General warned employers to promote healthy work environments, urging that stress won’t be easy, but it’s necessary and “worth it” for workers and organizations. 

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Vivek Murthy also outlined five key components of a healthy workplace: nurturing workplace community, positive work-life balance, protection from harm, growth opportunities, and ensuring workers know that they matter. 

This is great news, but does it really take this for some employers to realize that their employees are essential and deserve a positive work environment?

Macie LaCau is a passionate writer, herbal educator, and dog enthusiast. She spends most of her time overthinking and watering her tiny tomatoes.


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