The Importance of Employee Mental Health Benefits
An increasing number of organizations are realizing that the advantages of supporting employees’ mental health far outweigh the cost. By taking a positive approach to well-being in the workplace, companies can boost productivity and performance.
This blog explores the importance of employee mental health benefits and shows how organizations can benefit from more engaged, motivated and healthy staff.
What are employee mental health benefits?
Employee mental health benefits are usually covered by an employee assistance program (EAP) that provides short-term therapy and follow-up services via phone, video or face to face. Stress, anxiety and depression are becoming increasingly common mental health issues for which employees are seeking support. More general EAP packages are also available for a wider range personal and/or work-related problems that might be impacting an employee’s performance, well-being and physical or mental health.
Mental health benefits offer support to staff whenever they need it and can lead to improved employee well-being and a healthier workplace culture. This can provide significant returns for businesses:
- Increased staff retention – An employee with a $45,000 salary can cost as much as $15,000 to replace.
- Lower absenteeism – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that productivity losses linked to absenteeism costs $1,685 per employee annually.
- Reduced burnout – In a report from Deloitte, 77% of employees surveyed said they had experienced burnout.
- Greater productivity – Depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity.
Employee mental health during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live and work and it’s having an impact on employee mental health. According to a May 2021 survey of 1,000 remote workers in the US aged 18 and over by the American Psychiatric Association:
- The majority of employees working from home say they experience negative mental health impacts. Nearly two-thirds of people working from home report feeling lonely or isolated sometimes and 17% do all the time. More than two-thirds of employees who work from home at least part of the time report they have trouble switching off from work at the end of the day always (22%) or sometimes (45%).
- Employees report that their employer is offering fewer mental health benefits compared with last year – employee assistance program (28%, down from 39%), mental health services by app, phone or video (22%, down from 27%), mental health days (14%, down from 18%) and on-site mental health care (12%, down from 16%).
- 65% of employees feel their employer offers sufficient mental health care resources and benefits and 64% feel comfortable using workplace mental health services.
- 54% of employees think their employer has become more accommodating to their mental health needs during the pandemic. However, only one in five people said their employer has offered additional mental health services since the start of the pandemic, which is down from 35% last year.
- When looking at how employers treat employees who may have mental health issues, 28% of staff said their employer has become more supportive during the pandemic, 33% said the same as before and 9% said less supportive (31% of respondents didn’t know).
Some form of home working is likely to continue for millions of people across the US when we move out of the pandemic. This gives employers the opportunity to rethink how they support their employees’ mental health and provide remote access to different types of employee benefits. Offering appropriate mental health services and resources is likely to generate a positive impact in terms of productivity, and economic recovery and growth.
How the pandemic is changing employee mental health benefits
It’s clear that the post-pandemic economy will not fully recover — or reach its full potential — unless employees receive the mental health support they need. Care.com recently conducted research about “The Future of Benefits”. In the survey, 500 C-suite human resource leaders and managers from across the US were asked what employee benefits they plan to introduce, expand or deprioritize as a result of lessons learned during the pandemic:
- 98% of leaders plan to introduce or expand at least one employee benefit, prioritizing the ones that employees consider to be most essential. Out of a list of 16 benefits, mental health support was cited fourth by 51% of respondents.
- 89% of HR personnel said they are planning to deprioritize at least one type of employee benefit because of the pandemic, including on-site childcare, paid vacation days, commuter benefits, tuition reimbursement and food or meals.
The executive overview of the survey states that “Companies must demonstrate a more holistic understanding of their employees, not just as workers, but as human beings whose personal lives are now physically, as well as psychologically, co-mingled with work. HR leaders must not only enhance workers’ ability to care for others, but to care for themselves. If they do, they’ll reap benefits of their own – greater employee focus, productivity and loyalty.”
What mental health benefits should you offer your employees?
Everyone should have access to professional mental health and well-being support, and forward-thinking employers are giving employees the tools and resources to thrive in the workplace.
At Kindbridge, we can tailor our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to meet your organization’s needs. Our highly-trained team can offer a fast initial consultation and a comprehensive mental health plan for employees, whatever their specific requirements. Our confidential, online treatment is accessible from anywhere in the US with an internet connection.
Employees have access to four counseling sessions, including therapy for common mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, relationship issues and job-related challenges – as well as more specialist therapy, including digital addiction, gambling addiction and gaming disorder. Follow-up support can be provided afterwards, if needed, to ensure continuity of care.
We also offer therapy for eligible family members who are being negatively impacted by a loved one’s mental health problems.
Get in touch today to find out more about our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for your organization.