Mental Health: The Importance of Prioritizing Employee Well-Being

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Access to mental health benefits has a profound positive impact on individual well-being. It allows employees to address mental health concerns, develop effective coping mechanisms, and improve stress management. By offering support through therapy and counseling, mental health benefits enable individuals to achieve increased overall happiness and satisfaction in their personal and professional lives.

According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 91% of employers in the U.S. offer some form of mental health benefits as part of their employee benefits plans. This indicates a significant increase in employer recognition of the importance of mental health support in the workplace.

Investing in mental health benefits directly contributes to enhanced workplace productivity. Employees who receive appropriate mental health support are more engaged, motivated, and resilient. They experience lower rates of absenteeism and presenteeism, which is characterized by employees being physically present but mentally disengaged. By prioritizing mental well-being, employers foster an environment conducive to optimal performance and improved work-life balance.

In recent years, mental health has become an increasingly important topic of discussion in not only employees’ personal lives but in their professional lives. Many employers recognize the importance of promoting mental health and wellness in the workplace and have acknowledged the impact of mental well-being on employee productivity and overall job satisfaction. Recently, these benefits have become more accessible to employees through employer-sponsored benefits like mental health apps, telehealth, the availability of employee assistance programs (EAPs), and other nontraditional benefit offerings.

There are a variety of mental health benefits for employees that are offered through insurance carriers, and also non-insurance, or “non-traditional” benefits that can be offered on a standalone basis, or paired together to help to engage employees in a more wholistic wellness approach:

  • Mental health apps
  • Fitness club memberships
  • Access to a nutritionist
  • Wellness days
  • Yoga and massage
  • Telehealth
  • Health Advocacy
  • CPR training
  • Vaccine clinics
  • Lifestyle spending accounts (LSA)

Employee Assistance Programs and Mental Health

According to the 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefit Survey, 81% of large firms offer an employee assistance program, or EAP, to employees. EAPs are notoriously under-utilized but very valuable. These programs traditionally provide access to a variety of benefits that provide personal, financial, and legal assistance to employees and their family members.  They can include coverage for therapy sessions, psychiatric consultations for employees and their families, aiding in stress management, work-life balance, and personal issues.

EAP Benefits May Include

  • Financial information and resources for college savings, estate planning, retirement planning, tax questions, and more
  • Legal resources and consultations for divorce, family law, debt, real estate, etc.
  • Face-to-face sessions with a counselor as well as online and telephone resources.

However, studies indicate that the long-term benefits outweigh these concerns. A survey by Deloitte revealed that, in Canada, for every dollar invested in mental health treatments, employers see a return of $1.62 in improved productivity and reduced healthcare costs. Furthermore, fostering an inclusive and supportive work culture can help reduce stigma and encourage employees to seek the help they need.

Offering mental health benefits in employee benefits plans extends beyond individual well-being and workplace productivity. A mentally healthy workforce contributes to reduced healthcare costs by proactively addressing mental health concerns before they escalate. It also improves job retention rates, as employees feel valued and supported. Moreover, creating a supportive work environment sends a message that mental health is a priority, encouraging societal shifts towards open conversations and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.

Ultimately, offering mental health benefits is not just the right thing to do, but a smart investment that yields benefits for both individuals and organizations.


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