Five Ways Employers Can Address Mental Health in the Workplace
With 1 in 5 Americans experiencing a form of mental illness in a given year, it is clear work needs to be done to address this crisis. As we learned in our previous post, 76% of employee respondents to a survey have reported experiencing at least one symptom of a mental health condition. And sometimes those symptoms occur due to work. While some employers still do not see why investing in their employees’ mental health is important, some believe employers are the best solution to the problem. According to the CDC, the workplace can be a “key location for activities designed to improve [the] well-being among adults.” Since 62.4% of Americans are a part of the US labor force, we would have to agree that employers can do something. Here are our top five ways employers can address mental health in the workplace.
1. Offer Health Insurance That Includes Mental Health Cover
According to Mental Health America, having adequate insurance coverage for adults and youth in the United States is an ongoing battle. A little over 11% of Americans with a mental illness are uninsured, and there has been an 0.3% increase since last year’s stats. This is the second year in a row that there has been an increase since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. Mental Health America also found that 8.1% of children had private insurance that did not include mental health services. If employers offer adequate health insurance that covers mental health services, it will help alleviate some of their employees’ burdens.
2. Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Employers can also offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to help their workers fight against their mental health issues. EAPs are work-based intervention programs that help employees identify and resolve some of their issues. Some issues include marital, financial, nutrition, housing, substance abuse, and mental health concerns. These programs are usually offered for free and through a third-party vendor, such as the medical health care carrier to enhance confidentiality.
EAPs can be extremely helpful, and it is recommended to have company programs through a third-party site. It is important that employees feel comfortable to avoid feeling afraid that their job or social life may be on the line. Having company EAPs managed in-house can prevent employees from getting the help they may need. If your current medical provider does not offer an EAP, there are several third-party vendors like Life Guides, Headspace, TalkSpace, and so many more!
3. Healthy Work Environment
Having a healthy work environment is always essential not only for productional reasons but for the sake of employees’ mental health. Creating an environment where they feel cared for, included, and comfortable is crucial. As we discussed in our previous post, a study conducted by Mind Share Partners found that 50% of their full-time US employee respondents quit their previous jobs partially due to mental health reasons. Among some of those reasons include feeling emotionally drained, lack of recognition, and the struggles of balancing work with life.
Employers can do their best to alleviate these issues by hiring adequate staff to carry workload burdens, recognizing and rewarding hard work, and offering mental health days off. Having an open-door policy can also make employees feel comfortable opening up about anything they may be struggling with. And having frequent one-on-one meetings between employees and managers about work progress and feedback, as well as helping with what is going on with the employee both professionally and personally, can create space for employees to open up about anything.
4. Host Seminars, Conferences, and Workshops
Hosting seminars, conferences, and workshops are great ways to educate employees about mental health. Employers can invite mental health coaches and advocates to advise, train, and coach their staff regarding their mental health. And offer events such as yoga or pilates classes, meditation series, etc.
5. Be Open to Accommodating Your Employees
Employers who are aware of their employees’ struggles can help them by being open to accommodating them. For example, they may have an employee that is suffering from social anxiety. If reasonable, employers can accommodate their employee by allowing them to work in the back office, stock, or from home. They can also allow them to miss social work functions just in case the functions are triggering to them. But always let them know the invitation is open if they feel up for it.
Need More Help?
A lot can be done to help alleviate the burdens some may feel due to their mental health. As we have said before, this is a human problem. If you have not implemented any policies or programs to support your employees’ mental health, please reach out. We would love to hear from you and assist in any way. Happy Mental Health Awareness Month.