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Our workplaces play a significant role in our lives.
Work affects both our physical and mental well-being — in good ways and bad.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the relationship between work and well-being into clearer focus.

Our Nation’s Current Workplace Landscape

Recent surveys suggest...

76%

of U.S. workers reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition.

84%

of respondents said their workplace conditions had contributed to at least one mental health challenge.

81%

of workers reported that they will be looking for workplaces that support mental health in the future.

Written Document on Workplace Well‑Being

We can build workplaces that are engines of well-being, showing workers that they matter, that their work matters, and that they have the workplace resources and support necessary to flourish.
This 30-page Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being offers a foundation that workplaces can build upon. Download the document PDF or continue scrolling to learn more.
Cover image of the framework, The U.S. Surgeon General's Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being (2022) Download PDF

[PDF, 3.2MB]

The Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being

Centered on the worker’s voice and equity, these Five Essentials support workplaces as engines of well-being. Each essential is grounded in two human needs, shared across industries and roles. Creating a plan to enact these practices can help strengthen the essentials of workplace well‑being.

Illustration of five essentials—Protection from Harm, Connection and Community, Work-Life Harmony, Mattering at Work, Opportunity for Growth—in a circle with Worker Voice and Equity in the center

Explore the Framework

Protection from Harm
Overview

The first Essential of this Framework is Protection from Harm. Creating the conditions for physical and psychological safety is a critical foundation for ensuring workplace mental health and well-being. This Essential rests on two human needs: safety and security.

Safety
Human Needs

Safety is protecting all workers from physical and non-physical harm, including injury, illness, discrimination, bullying, and harassment.

Security

Security is ensuring all workers feel secure financially and in their job future.

Key Components

*Diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility

Connection & Community
Overview

The second Essential of the Framework is Connection and Community. Fostering positive social interactions and relationships in the workplace supports worker well-being. This Essential rests on two human needs: social support and belonging.

Social Support
Human Needs

Social Support is having the networks and relationships that can offer physical and psychological help, and can mitigate feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Belonging

Belonging is the feeling of being an accepted member of a group.

Key Components
Work-Life Harmony
Overview

The third Essential of this Framework is Work-Life Harmony. Professional and personal roles can together create work and non-work conflicts. The ability to integrate work and non-work demands, for all workers, rests on the human needs of autonomy and flexibility.

Autonomy
Human Needs

Autonomy is how much control a worker has over when, where, and how they do their work.

Flexibility

Flexibility is ability of workers to work when and where is best for them.

Key Components
Mattering at Work
Overview

The fourth Essential of the Framework is Mattering at Work. People want to know that they matter to those around them and that their work matters. Knowing you matter has been shown to lower stress, while feeling like you do not can raise the risk for depression. This Essential rests on the human needs of dignity and meaning.

Dignity
Human Needs

Dignity is the sense of being respected and valued.

Meaning

Meaning in the workplace can refer to the sense of broader purpose and significance of one’s work.

Key Components
Opportunity for Growth
Overview

The final Essential of this Framework is Opportunity for Growth. When organizations create more opportunities for workers to accomplish goals based on their skills and growth, workers become more optimistic about their abilities and more enthusiastic about contributing to the organization. This Essential rests on the human needs of learning and a sense of accomplishment.

Learning
Human Needs

Learning is the process of acquiring new skills and knowledge in the workplace.

Accomplishment

Accomplishment is the outcome of meeting goals and having an impact.

Key Components
Illustration of five essentials—Protection from Harm, Connection and Community, Work-Life Harmony, Mattering at Work, Opportunity for Growth—in a circle with Worker Voice and Equity in the center

Conclusion & Next Steps

The Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being emphasizes the connection between the well-being of workers and the health of organizations. It offers a foundation and resources that can be used by workplaces of any size, across any industry. Sustainable change must be driven by committed leaders in continuous collaboration with the valued workers who power each workplace. The most important asset in any organization is its people. By choosing to center their voices, we can ensure that everyone has a platform to thrive.

Resources for Supporting Workplace Well‑Being

Visit our resources page to find more information about how to implement the framework in your workplace.

Go to Resources Library

Key Downloads

Essentials for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being Graphic

This graphic communicates the Five Essentials for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being and their respective human needs and components, shared across industries and roles.

Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being Reflection Questions Deck

This is a deck of questions to help leaders reflect on their workplaces and start designing organizational policy and culture around the Five Essentials for Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being.