Addressing the mental health and emotional well-being of employees is a crucial aspect of modern corporate culture. Companies are increasingly understanding that happy and mentally fit employees are essential for creating a productive and positive working environment. One way to achieve this is by offering employee benefits designed to support their mental health. These benefits not only help to prevent burnout and reduce stress but can also foster a workforce that is more engaged, resilient, and satisfied.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that the average delay between the onset of mental health symptoms and treatment is 11 years. A myriad of factors can hold workers back from receiving the mental health support and treatment they need.
Employers can help employees overcome these barriers, understand available treatment options and start their recovery journey.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL HEALTH
Before delving into the strategies, it’s crucial to understand why mental health benefits are so essential in the workplace:
- Improved employee well-being—Mental health benefits help employees manage stress, anxiety and other mental health issues, which can lead to improved overall well-being and happiness.
- Increased productivity—Employees with access to mental health support are more likely to be productive, as they can better manage work-related stress and challenges.
- Reduced absenteeism—Mental health benefits can help reduce absenteeism caused by mental health issues, leading to employer cost savings. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that depression alone causes an estimated 200 million lost workdays each year, costing employers $17 billion to $44 billion.
- Enhanced employee engagement—Employees who feel supported in their mental health are more engaged and committed to their jobs and the company.
- Talent attraction and retention—Offering robust mental health benefits can make an organization more attractive to potential employees and help retain current talent.
While more employers may focus on their businesses’ bottom line, mental health support is not to be overlooked as it can have ripple effects. A 2023 study by mindfulness app Calm found that for every $1 invested in employees’ mental health, employers can save $2-$4 on other expenses, such as health care costs—that’s a win-win in today’s economic climate.
Employee mental health is more important than ever before, and employers are in a position to offer resources and support their employees.
MENTAL HEALTH BENEFIT TRENDS
An increasing number of employers are prioritizing mental health by adding related employee benefits. According to the Calm study:
- 49% of organizations say they’re adding benefits in the next year
- 41% of those orgs are adding preventive mental health benefits
- 38% of those orgs are adding digital mental health therapy
Preventive benefits and tools can address stress, burnout, anxiety, and sleep, while digital mental health clinical therapy benefits can increase accessibility and help close patient care gaps.
While some employers are maintaining or expanding their current benefits offerings, others are considering ways to control costs and optimize their benefits strategy. Methods include doubling down on employee awareness of benefits offerings and integrating wellness solutions, such as Kapnick Strive [link] into a one-stop hub for easier navigation.
REMOVING BENEFIT BARRIERS
More employers recognize the significance of promoting mental well-being in the workplace and offer a range of mental health benefits to support their employees. However, barriers can still prevent employees from accessing these essential benefits.
To address the numerous barriers to mental health care, employers can consider the following strategies for increasing access to proper care and normalizing mental health support:
Review benefits offerings and ensure mental health is incorporated into health care offerings.
These are some popular benefits or policies:
- Inclusive health insurance plans with mental health coverage
- Employee assistance programs
- Flexible work arrangements
- Paid caregiving leave
- Mental health days
Educate about available benefits.
In addition to educating employees about available mental health benefits and resources, employers can explain how to leverage other benefits to make mental health treatment and services more attainable or offset out-of-pocket expenses.
Reduce the stigma.
Employers can build trust with employees by showing them they won’t be fired or punished for mental health issues. They can do this by:
- Openly discussing mental health in the workplace,
- Encouraging self-care
- Allowing flexible scheduling for employees to get mental health treatment
Additionally, employers can educate employees on improving their mental health with in-office training on self-care, stress management and mental health issues.
Promote work-life balance.
Employees who feel they have a good balance between their jobs and personal lives are likelier to be healthy, happy and productive workers. Organizations can foster a healthy work-life balance among workers by:
- Providing them the time and flexibility they need for a flourishing personal life
- Requiring them to take minimum vacation time
- Encouraging them to unplug from their jobs when not in the office or outside of working hours
Support employee wellness.
Exercise, healthy eating and good sleep habits are crucial for mental health and resilience. Programs like Kapnick Strive can help promote holistic well-being, including physical and mental health.
Mental health challenges are prevalent in the workplace. Fortunately, employers can be impactful by supporting and facilitating mentally healthy workplaces. Kapnick can help you design the best benefit strategy to support your employees’ mental health, so don’t hesitate to contact us today.