Survey results: mental health and your product role

  • 16 August 2021
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Earlier this month we kicked off a short survey in the Product Makers community on mental health and product. It was interesting to engage the community on a vulnerable and often under-discussed topic in the product community. We appreciate each of you completing the survey.

While we didn’t get a statistically significant sample size in our survey, we did learn a bit about where those in our community are at, and how they are supporting others and being supported. Here are some broad insights from the survey we’d like to share:

All respondents have experienced mental health impacts in their product role

This may be unsurprising to hear, especially given the fact that we’ve spent the last year and a half in a pandemic and potentially isolated more than normal, but we didn’t expect to see this from every respondent. It’s clear that the role of product is challenging and that balancing day-to-day stress alongside our workload requires that we be attentive to ourselves as much as our products.

Most, but not all have access to mental health training and support from others they work with

The increased availability of training and resources, both within the companies we work for and publicly, is a good sign given the increased focus and awareness of mental health issues. Both organizations and individuals should be proactive in seeking out resources or sharing access to help their product teams in these areas.

Few are comfortable sharing their own experiences with others and it seems to be a taboo topic within teams

Two-thirds of respondents, despite being strongly connected to their teams and feeling psychologically safe at work, seldom raise the topic of mental health within their teams and with their manager or other leaders. This is telling that we’ve built and created strong work relationships but still cannot share openly, and could point to the continued stigma around mental health.

Having access to an external community is helpful for some

Communities such as Product Makers may help some people feel not alone and provide a way to see how others are approaching similar problems and challenges, but they are also just one of many tools and options.

Here are some additional tips on how to protect and improve your mental health:

  • Cultivate the skill of mindfulness to help counter stress, sleep deprivation, multitasking, and digital distractions. Whether that’s a moment small moment to reset and focus or a larger practice, take some time to shift and create a new mindset.
  • Practice gratitude. Be intentional about giving thanks - it can significantly increase your happiness and protect you from stress, negativity, anxiety, and depression.
  • Take care of yourself and your wellness. Exercising, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep can help counter anxiety, pessimism, and re-charge and help you engage more effectively.
  • Find times for social connection and opportunities to create trusted relationships with others. Having positive feedback loops can help promote better well-being.
  • Be ok with being vulnerable. Vulnerability does not mean being weak or submissive but rather implies the courage to be your authentic self. This TED talk by Brené Brown has some good learnings on the value of vulnerability and engagement.

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