» How to Improve Your Employee’s Mental and Behavioral Health
May 16, 2023
Behavioral Health, Benefits Administration, Digital Health, Employee Benefits, Employee Engagement, Employee Experience, Health Equity, Health Insurance, Healthcare Innovation, Healthcare Spending, Human Resources, Leadership, Mental Health, Wellness
Interested in a free webinar with practical tips and strategies to support your employees’ mental health?
Join John and representatives from Health Action Alliance / Mental Health Action Day and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention next Tuesday for a jam-packed session on mental health and the workplace!
With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, our team has been focused on showing ways for employers to support the mental and behavioral health of employees.
And while there has been lots of discussion about mental health in the workplace over the last few years, employers are still looking for strategies on how to really make a difference for their people.
To impact your employees’ mental and behavioral health, there are a handful of areas to consider:
- Stigma Reduction via Company Culture & Leadership
- Resources & Screening Tools
- Benefits & Healthcare Access
In our role as benefits consultants, we feel we can do more than deliver a health insurance renewal once a year. Mental and behavioral health is a year-round issue. Here’s how you can start making a difference for your team today.
Stigma Renders Everything Else Moot
The biggest obstacle to employees caring for their mental health is the stigma associated with it. Leaders in your organization need to remove the barriers that currently exist and prevent employees from using the resources you already offer.
No matter how many vendors and resources you offer, employees won’t use services until their symptoms are significant and unavoidable. This is not an ease of access or affordability issue as much as one of stigma. Examples of stigma include privacy concerns, social and professional repercussions, care navigation and knowing how to engage the system, and social determinants of health that lead to disparities across various demographic lines.
Most employees struggling with mental illnesses are undetected, undiagnosed, and untreated. For the employer, this presents a significant risk and direct and indirect costs.
Companies reduce stigma when they develop their company culture to emphasize trust, respect, and understanding. One way is by focusing on creating psychological safety in the workplace; a form of empathy. Employees won’t engage with programs offered by their employer until they feel safe and trusting.
Stigma reduction and associated approaches are by far and away the greatest opportunity for many companies today.
Screening Tools & Resources to Quarterback Your Journey
I feel off. What do I do? Do I even recognize this?
Many employees suffering from symptoms of a mental illness or substance abuse disorder may not even recognize that they have a problem.
If my leg is hurt or my nose is congested, I know it. And I’ll likely do something about it due to the discomfort and pain. But mental health is a tricky field, where we can get accustomed to a less-than-ideal state and not even be aware of it.
Groups can bridge this gap by offering screening tools that help employees diagnose themselves and recognize that there is a gap between how they feel today and how they should feel. These tools include care navigation, which means they tell employees how to engage the healthcare system based on the results of their screening. One person may need a cognitive behavioral therapist, another an addiction counselor, and the third a psychiatrist.
While these groups have historically operated in silos, they are working together more today in light of what we know now about mental health. On top of that, care navigation helps bring these together holistically and with technology to simplify employees’ care journey.
Benefits & Healthcare Access
Once we’ve confronted stigma and introduced screening tools, then we turn our attention to the benefits, insurance, and vendors in place to treat employees and address their mental and behavioral health symptoms.
These resources include health plans, EAPs, virtual primary care and virtual mental health care, wellness and well-being resources, and substance abuse and mental health support services.
If implemented with the full approach above, groups have experienced 3-1 to 4-1 returns on their investment in direct costs, not to mention lessening the impact of presenteeism, absenteeism, and turnover.
Schedule a complimentary call with a consultant if you want to enhance your mental and behavioral support
Posted by John Hansbrough in Behavioral Health, Benefits Administration, Digital Health, Employee Benefits, Employee Engagement, Employee Experience, Health Equity, Health Insurance, Healthcare Innovation, Healthcare Spending, Human Resources, Leadership, Mental Health, Wellness