Smart employers know every business is only as strong as its people. A healthy and productive workforce is the key to success — and that includes mental health.
But the U.S. is currently in a mental health crisis.
Employers lose $300 billion annually as a direct result of their employees’ mental health–related issues. These losses are the result of decreased productivity, absenteeism, medical and disability expenses, and employees leaving the business altogether.
Employers are in a powerful position to offer mental health benefits that support their employees, demonstrating that they place just as much importance on mental health as on physical wellness.
This post shows you how to make it happen so you can have happier, healthier and more productive employees.
Setting aside the mental health stigma
Even though mental health issues are pervasive, there’s still a big stigma attached to them.
In research carried out by Priory, 71% of people confessed they would worry about telling their employer if they had mental health troubles for fear of getting a negative response.
Even in the most progressive workplaces, many employees keep their conditions secret. They do so for a number of reasons, including being afraid of damaging their reputation, affecting relationships with colleagues, or even putting their job at risk.
As a result, employees may try to “push through” without getting the help they need, which can result in burnout and exacerbate the existing issue.
As an employer, how can you combat the stigma?
The first step is incorporating a mental health and wellness benefit into your health plan. You should allow easy access to services that remove barriers to seeking help for conditions such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
Doing so shows the importance you place on your employees’ mental wellness, and they in turn will feel more comfortable seeking help.
What are the benefits of offering mental health and wellness coverage?
If you’re on the fence about adding mental health and wellness coverage to your healthcare plan, there are strong reasons to do so:
- You’ll see an increase in productivity. Research shows that employees are 13% more productive when they are feeling happy and in control of their mental health.
- You’re more likely to retain talent. Employees who get appropriate mental health treatment will be happier to stay at your company if they can manage their condition.
- You’ll see a reduction in absenteeism costs. Missed work days are costly. The conservative estimate is $340 per day for full-time workers and $170 per day for part-time workers.
Above all, it’s important that your actions align with your business values. Providing the right mental health services proves that you care about your employees’ well-being. This aligned approach between what you say and what you do will nurture trust and connection in your business.
What services should be included in a health plan?
There’s no hard-and-fast rule on the mental health services you should offer as part of a benefits package. Your health plan should fit your business’ needs like a glove — as well as your employees’.
But for a comprehensive approach, a well-rounded mental health service benefits package should include an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
An EAP is a work-based intervention program designed to support the emotional, mental and psychological well-being of all employees. EAPs can cover a lot of ground, but typically they include services such as:
- Counseling services, where employees and their dependents can address issues like grief, family problems, psychological disorders and addiction
- Support with work-life balance, which can include advice on elder or child care, as well as school assistance
- Legal-assistance services where employees can get advice or schedule consultations
- Financial consulting that helps employees manage financial stress, budgeting, debt control and financial planning
- Crisis intervention, where immediate support is at hand in the case of a traumatic event
- Telemedicine, so employees can seek support in a comfortable and convenient environment wherever possible
MagnaCare’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) gives employees a confidential space to access help for personal or work-related issues. We know that if problems are not addressed, they can build up and worsen, so a comprehensive package works best for most employers.
Investing in mental health and wellness coverage isn’t just an ethical choice; it’s also a smart business move.
Prioritizing mental health can lead to happier, healthier and more productive employees — and a more successful business as a result.
By incorporating mental health and wellness coverage into your benefits package you’ll show employees that you care about them. You’ll also lead the way in destigmatizing mental health issues so your employees can be open about their struggles.
The U.S. may be in a mental health crisis, but as an employer, you’re well positioned to help combat it.
Do you want to find out more about how to implement mental health and well-being services in your benefits package? Contact us today on [email protected].