Depression affects as many as one in three adults, and has been shown to affect the workforce — 68 percent of “Millennials” and 81 percent of those identifying as “Generation Z” left their jobs in 2021 due to job-related mental health reasons. COVID-19 has only made these issues worse. However, having a comprehensive program that addresses issues with employee mental health improves productivity and reduces turnover.
Following these six best practices can help build a strong framework for mental wellness both at home and at the office. These best practices were developed by the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), a nonprofit dedicated to identifying and sharing best practices on workplace health and well-being.
Raise awareness about mental health and emotional well-being. Reducing the stigma around mental illness in the workplace takes building awareness:
- Train managers to recognize and respond to employee mental health needs.
- Encourage and give permission for employees to seek help when needed.
- Reinforce the message that maintaining employee mental health is a core value.
- Post interviews of leaders sharing personal stories to help destigmatize challenges that everyone faces.
Manage risks related to work, environment and culture. Organizations need to honestly evaluate how the work environment contributes to mental health issues and try to change it for the better.
- Engage employees and seek their involvement in shaping workplace culture.
- Take work-life balance issues seriously; consider flexible work schedules and assistance with child and eldercare needs.
- Provide workspaces or office environments that encourage collaboration and minimize isolation, and virtual options for a hybrid workforce.
Assess employee mental health needs and measure the impact of intervention. As mental and emotional well-being encompasses a broad spectrum of conditions and severity, there isn’t a single best solution to mental well-being at work. However, successful support programs have several things in common:
- They are grounded in quantitative and qualitative insights into the overall health of the organization.
- They are able to measure success and show what works.
- They usually focus on critical success metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) like absenteeism, productivity, motivation, turnover and health outcomes.
Provide and promote access to evidence-based, high-quality care for mental health. At its base, any mental health wellness strategy needs to include behavioral services.
- Access is generally through health plans, EAPs and other partnerships with mental health care providers.
- Employers can lower co-pays and fees to reduce financial barriers to care.
- Programs should span mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment.
- Promote awareness through multiple strategies and channels, helping reduce the stigma associated with mental health while improving access.
Integrate employee mental health needs into a comprehensive strategy. There’s a link between mental and physical health. Recognizing the following will help integrate mental health initiatives into a comprehensive wellness strategy:
- Every dimension of well-being is linked to mental health and emotional well-being.
- These dimensions include emotional well-being (which lifestyle coaching can help address), career wellness (career development and coaching) and financial wellness (guidance on budgeting and setting financial goals).
- A successful and comprehensive well-being strategy requires adherence to industry best practices.
Partner with local and national organizations. Community and national partnerships benefit both employees and employers:
- Partnerships provide additional resources that are convenient and often low cost.
- Working with a local or national organization on mental health can help employers quickly establish best practices and increase credibility.
- Partnerships also encourage greater levels of volunteerism, which has been shown to improve mental and physical well-being.
The American Rental Association (ARA) Healthcare Solution has virtual mental health services included at no extra charge to the group.
The customized health coverage option also delivers a dedicated team of experts who are ready to help find the best health coverage fit for the needs of your business.
If you want to add health insurance to your company’s compensation package for the first time or simply look into an alternative to what you currently offer, check out the details of the ARA Healthcare Solution by visiting ARAhealth.org. You also may call 833-966-4137 or email ARAhealth@hubinternational.com for more information.