What We're Reading: Poll Finds Workplace Stress Is a Major Health Issue

Also, the share of employers funding wellness programs has passed the 50% mark, but not all employees use them.

A poll by National Public Radio, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds that workplace stress is an important health problem for adults. Stress has been linked to diabetes, obesity, and mental health problems including depression—and burnout from stress is costly for employers. The poll also found that 51% of employers have a formal wellness or health improvement program, but that only 40% of employees who have one available participate.

Mental health advocates are optimistic that the Senate will act on a comprehensive mental health bill that recently passed the House of Representatives by a 422-2 margin. The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act will fill gaps in the nation’s system by creating hospital beds for people who need a short-term hospitalization. The bill will also allow parents to access medical information of adult children with serious mental illnesses. Also, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration must create an interagency group to integrate evidence-based findings into systems of care.

While the FDA has banned sales of premixed cocktails that combine energy drinks with alcohol, the combinations remain popular with social drinkers and bartenders. A study by Research Society on Alcoholism has found that combining energy drinks and alcohol creates a desire for more alcohol that goes beyond what would occur by drinking alcohol alone. FDA banned the premixed combinations because they were determined to be unsafe.