Creating access to quality mental health programs and behavioral health specialists, and actually getting your employees to use them, can feel overwhelming. In the United States, 20% of adults are experiencing a mental illness. According to a recent report from Mental Health America, over 50% of adults who are struggling with mental illness do not receive treatment, 30% reported they weren’t able to get the treatment they needed, and 40% of people couldn’t afford it.
There are many barriers to people accessing treatment, including logistics, stigma, awareness and cost. Anything that can be done to reduce these barriers will likely increase employee engagement.
Follow these five tips to help increase engagement and improve results with mental health benefits.
1. Foster a Culture of Openness
You can’t just say you care about your employees’ mental health; the quality of your programs and policies have to match. For example, employers should provide access to mental health resources and flexible time off to participate during work hours without clocking out or taking a personal day.
Partner with a behavioral health solution that fits your population and provides in-person as well as virtual access.
2. Education & Training on Mental Health
Make mental health conversations part of your culture. Leaders and managers should share stories about their own stressors and what they’re doing to manage them, along with encouraging their teams to do the same.
Assess how often and through what channels leadership is communicating about mental health support and whether services or programs are available for populations with specific needs.
3. Implement Mental Health Access Points
Offer mental health support programs such as employer-sponsored healthcare that includes behavioral health, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), counseling services, or access to mental health resources. These programs can provide confidential and professional assistance to employees struggling with behavioral health issues.
4. Review & Improve Behavioral Health Policies
Regularly review existing policies and procedures and ensure they support employees’ mental well-being and ability to access services. Determine whether your organization is mitigating barriers and if there is parity between medical and mental health benefits.
5. Measure and Hold Yourself Accountable
Assess how your organization is reducing stigma and evaluate these efforts. Celebrate and support recovery, get employee feedback about mental health support, and hold leaders and managers accountable for supporting employee mental health.
Make Your Mental Health Benefits A Success
Implementing a robust mental health program is not just an option; it’s a necessity. This involves creating policies that provide flexibility, promoting work-life balance, and offering resources such as counseling services, mindfulness programs and workshops.
Recognize that a holistic approach to employee wellness leads to long-term success. Make sure you offer access to the right care that will make a difference in employees’ lives, so they get better and move forward with a life that brings them joy.