May 5, 2022
According to the American Institute of Stress, numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades. So, what are leaders of companies doing to improve employee mental health at work?
In our recent webinar, Actionable Ways to Improve Workplace Well-Being, we explored how HR teams can do just that. Licensed therapist, Kristy Paterson, discussed:
According to the CDC, many people suffering from mental health disorders also need care for other physical health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory illness, and disorders that affect muscles, bones, and joints The costs of treating people with both mental health disorders and other physical conditions are 2 to 3x higher than for those without co-occurring illnesses. By combining medical and behavioral health care services, the United States could save $37.6 billion to $67.8 billion a year.
Stigma and access to care are the biggest hurdles to combining medical and behavioral health services. Mental healthcare has historically been an afterthought of the modern approach to healthcare for Americans. The correlation between total medical healthcare spend and behavioral health conditions in the workplace is astonishing. In this 2021 study of the prevalence of behavioral health conditions in the workplace, 10% of your workforce drives 70% of total medical spend, and over half of that 10% have a mental health condition.
Direct costs correlating to mental health conditions are expenses that fall under the realm of treatment. Examples of direct costs would be:
“The economic costs of mental illness will be more than cancer, diabetes, and respiratory ailments put together.” - A director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health at the World Economic Forum
Indirect costs are the less obvious spends, and substantially more costly in the long-term for companies. These costs are the indirect effect of untreated mental health conditions (i.e. depression, PTSD, bipolar, Opioid Use Disorder, etc), such as:
Gallup’s State of the American Workplace survey looked at how engaged US workers are in the workplace. The study found more than 64% of workers are not engaged at work “mentally checked out” as a result of stress, leading to a loss of productivity.
This three-step guide will provide actionable ideas for you to incorporate into your company for happier, healthier employees.
The first step in supporting employee mental health is making well-being an organizational goal.
A holistic approach to your organizational goals is the best way to incorporate mental well-being, along with physical, financial, social, etc. Holistic programs create healthy organizations, which are good for business, people, and society.
The Healthy Organization provided by The Josh Bersin Company is a great example of what a healthy company goal structure looks like, and what companies consider moving towards the betterment of their current and future workforce. Cookie-cutter health plans are becoming a thing of the past, and we continue to spread awareness of the importance of healthy mental well-being.
There are multiple opportunities to measure employee mental health on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. These include:
Each of these opportunities allows for feedback and should be used to guide investments in program awareness and elevate areas of concern in your organization.
Information and data are key to understanding the impact of mental health conditions and establishing a baseline for workplace mental health initiatives. By leveraging data from your mental health platform, you can understand the true impact that the available benefits have on the organization.
Although these are the main three actionable ideas to implement in your organization, one of the first things that you can do to help employees is to make sure that the mental healthcare solution you offer is easy to access.
If you have an EAP or mental health platform with low usage rates, it's likely that employees are unaware of the benefit, or they don’t know how to access it. Research shows that 72% of employees want their employer to prioritize mental health and wellbeing, so it's important to make sure that they know they are supported.
Start with a free assessment