Mental Health in the Workplace

Stephen Kita
Posted on Aug 14, 2020

For this project, a dashboard was created to explore a survey conducted about mental health in the workplace.

Introduction

According the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), mental health issues cause some of the greatest burdens on the country as a whole1. In particular, working adults with mental health issues can face negative consequences like poor job performance and low engagement with their work. Therefore, it's important to spread awareness about mental health in order to improve communication and encourage employers to create stronger support networks at the workplace.

The Data

A voluntary survey was administered by Open Sourcing Mental Illness Ltd., a non-profit with the mission of raising awareness around mental wellness in the technology sector. As part of their mission, OSMI has released the data under a free creative commons license. The survey was conducted online and has been running annually since 2014. (The 2014 survey is popular on the data science community kaggle.) The questions change from year to year - ranging from 27 the first year to 83 in the most recent year - and fall into general categories, such as:

  • what type of company do you work at?
  • do you have a mental illness?
  • are you comfortable discussing your mental illness with your coworkesr?
  • does your employer-sponsored insurance include mental health coverage?

A second set of data was compiled from the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to compare with the OSMI data. The DHHS annually conducts the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The data is freely available to the public, but there is no convenient data table or API, so the data was hand-picked from summary tables in the 2018 Survey Report.

Exploratory Data Analysis

The benefit of creating a dashboard is to explore the data in a convenient way and to easily look for trends. Below are the main questions I was trying to answer with the data.

What countries are doing the best for mental health in the workplace?

The first page allows for exploring survey questions by country. An initial review of the data shows there is not much difference between countries.

What demographics are most affected by mental health in the workplace?

The second page allows for exploring survey questions by demographic. An initial review of the data shows there is not much difference between men and women.

How do the survey results compare to national trends?

The last page allows for comparing national trends with the survey population. For instance, we can see that as the national suicide rate is increasing, employers are not more likely to include mental health coverage on their insurance plans.

Conclusions

There is clear potential here to spread awareness about mental health in the workplace. Unfortunately, the app is not functional at the time of this writing. Future work includes getting the app working and sharing this project with OSMI.

Further Reading

If you would like to learn more about Open Sourcing Mental Illness Ltd., or if you want to participate in the 2020 Mental Health in Tech Survey, you can read more on their website: https://osmihelp.org/research

Sources

1. https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/tools-resources/workplace-health/mental-health/index.html

About Author

Stephen Kita

Stephen Kita

Stephen is an experienced data scientist with a background in biomedical engineering. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and collaborating with multi-disciplinary teams.
View all posts by Stephen Kita >

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