Even with equitable access to health services and behavioral health support, surveys show some employees bypass needed care due to stigmas. According to a 2021 survey by McKinsey & Company, 53 percent of all employees reported feeling at least some degree of stigma around receiving physical care, while 61 percent noted some degree of stigma around receiving behavioral healthcare.
Fannon says Duncan regularly initiates stigma-reducing campaigns to encourage employees to seek needed help. When COVID began in early 2020, the organization quickly pivoted a cancer-screening campaign to one focused on behavioral health services.
“As soon as the pandemic hit, we shifted gears and recognized that behavioral health is really at the forefront now,” Fannon says. “We developed a campaign talking about reducing those stigmas and how it’s common to seek care for behavioral health.”
Fannon says Marathon Health providers hold various lunch-and-learns to teach employees about available services, and also to help them understand it’s not just normal, but OK to seek mental health support. Duncan already employed one behavioral health specialist, and after seeing engagement skyrocket, they expanded the offering to additional health centers.
“We wanted to pilot that program and it really took off — even our spousal utilization rate with behavioral health was very successful,” Fannon says. “When you have the right providers, people get the word out and they share that it’s successful, it’s comfortable and there’s no judgment involved.”