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8 Mental health benefits to offer for employee wellness

8 Mental health benefits to offer for employee wellness

Today’s employees have a significant need for mental health support. In 2021, nearly 58 million adults in the United States had at least 1 mental health condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. A growing awareness of the link between mental health and issues like productivity, job satisfaction, and turnover rates is helping organizations recognize the importance of investing in comprehensive, integrated wellness programs for employees. 

Strategic mental health resources, tools, and programs can foster a thriving, productive workforce that’s happy, resilient, and ready to work. Explore the 8 mental health benefits for employees you should consider adding to your wellness package so you’re competitive enough to attract and retain top talent. 

  1. Health insurance
  2. Employee assistance programs (EAP)
  3. Online mental health services
  4. Wellness app subscriptions
  5. Stress management workshops
  6. Mental health days
  7. Flexible work arrangements
  8. Employee resource groups

1. Health insurance

While offering health insurance is non-negotiable today, it’s much more than just a cornerstone of employee benefits. Providing comprehensive coverage that includes mental health benefits for employees is a win-win for both employer and employee. 

Reducing barriers to seeking professional help signals you’re committed to the well-being of your workforce. It also helps destigmatize seeking mental health support and promotes early intervention, which is often the most promising and effective solution to many mental health concerns.

Top benefit: Providing insurance that safeguards both physical and mental health fosters a culture of care and compassion. This dual benefit enhances employee morale and retention while elevating your reputation as an exemplary employer.

2. Employee assistance programs (EAP)

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) can be a lifeline to employees navigating many challenges, both professionally and personally. EAPs provide access to resources like: 

  • Confidential counseling
  • Legal assistance
  • Financial planning and guidance 
  • Life insurance
  • Family services
  • Substance abuse support

When you incorporate an employee assistance program into your wellness package initiative, you’re providing a crucial resource while encouraging your employees to manage their stress and mental wellness in healthy ways. Programs like these can be great for addressing immediate mental health care concerns. An even bigger benefit of employee assistance programs is they can also contribute to long-term mental, physical, and emotional well-being by teaching healthy coping strategies and providing valuable resources to employees.

Top benefit: EAPs show you care about those who work for you. They clearly define your commitment to each employee’s well-being, which can ultimately boost productivity and organizational success.

3. Online mental health services

To say we live in a fast-paced world is an understatement. While remote work makes it easier for people to get their jobs done from anywhere, it can be a double-edged sword. Somewhere along the lines, it increased expectations, leading to longer hours and more demands. For some people, it’s blurred the lines separating work and personal life. 

Fortunately, the digital landscape isn’t all bad. It also makes getting help easier than ever. Online mental health platforms like Talkspace make accessing online therapy for employees simple, affordable, and convenient enough to fit into even the busiest schedules — all from the comfort of an employee’s home or office.  

Top benefit: Ensuring access to online employee mental health benefits can help you, too. It’s one way you can remain compliant with the 2009 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), which mandates insurance plans must cover mental health and substance use disorder treatments the same way they would physical health treatments. 

4. Wellness app subscriptions

Offering employees wellness app subscriptions is an excellent way to promote mental health care and holistic well-being across your organization. According to research, more than 66% of people in the United States use health apps, and a whopping 81% find them more beneficial than traditional health services. In short, wellness apps can be a convenient resource for employees who are interested in:

  • Focusing on physical fitness
  • Learning to manage stress
  • Practicing mindfulness meditation
  • Developing other healthy habits 

Integrating and promoting wellness apps empowers employees to take charge of their health and happiness.

Top benefit: The greatest advantage of offering wellness app subscriptions as a mental health benefit is the powerful message it sends: you genuinely care about your employees' well-being. The results can be healthier, more engaged, happier employees, which leads to lower healthcare costs, decreased absenteeism and presentism, and increased productivity.

5. Stress management workshops

The American Institute of Stress recently found that an astounding 83% of workers in the United States experience work-related stress — and a quarter of them say work is the most extreme stressor in their lives. That same report also found that absenteeism related to depression is costing US businesses an estimated $51 billion (yes, with a B) each year. These stats suggest that offering stress management workshops can benefit employers and employees.

Stress workshops are designed to offer practical and useful strategies for helping employees learn to identify, cope with, and reduce stress — personally and professionally.

Top benefit: Studies show that stress management workshops reduce work-related stress, create positive work environments, and improve company morale.

6. Mental health days

Consider implementing mental health days into your benefits package. Designated days off that encourage employees to prioritize mental health and recharge — without fear of repercussion — are becoming more popular in the workplace. By offering dedicated time for self-care as an employee benefit, you allow people to address stressors and challenges and acknowledge the importance of mental well-being.

Top benefit: The American Psychological Association’s (APA’s) 2023 Work in America Survey found that nearly all workers — 92% — say it’s “very” or “somewhat” important to them to work for a company that values their emotional health. A supportive work environment that offers mental health days shows you appreciate and respect your workforce. It also empowers people to set boundaries to protect their mental health.

7. Flexible work arrangements

Since the global pandemic, flexible work arrangements have become increasingly common. Offering options for remote work and flex hours helps you accommodate your workforce's diverse needs while promoting work-life balance for employees

Offering employees the autonomy to choose when, where, and how they work lets them better manage their personal and professional responsibilities. The result is increased job satisfaction, higher productivity rates, and reduced attrition.

Top benefit: Organizations that offer flexible work arrangements — whether to work remotely or set flexible work hours — can attract and keep the best of the best. This inclusive mental health benefit might just be the competitive edge you’ve been looking for to boost your brand reputation and image as a company that cares.

8. Employee resource groups (ERGs)

Employee resource groups (ERGs) help celebrate diversity in the workplace. These groups offer spaces for employees to connect and support one another based on shared identities and experiences. Companies that encourage ERGs are committed to creating inclusive, supportive work environments. ERGs promote collaboration and serve as catalysts for positive organizational change.

Top benefit: Promoting diversity and inclusion through ERGs strengthens employee morale, enhances understanding and tolerance, and elevates organizational culture.

The ROI of investing in mental health

Investing in mental health benefits for employees is good for the people who work at an organization — but it’s also good for employers and often yields a considerable return on investment. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that for every $1 invested in supporting the mental health needs of employees, organizations see an estimated $4 return in productivity and health. 

Proactively addressing and prioritizing mental health in your company can lead to a more positive work environment, with increased retention rates, improved morale, and higher productivity.  

Talkspace is an online mental health platform that simplifies getting help. It’s effective, too. Researchers discovered that more than half (56%) of respondents reported “significant improvement” in anxiety and depression symptoms after using Talkspace for just 4 weeks. 

Our experienced, qualified mental health professionals are ready to help your employees with all their mental health needs. 

Request a demo today to learn more about how you can improve employee experience and the well-being of your workforce with comprehensive, rewarding employee mental health benefits through Talkspace.

Sources:

  1. “Mental Illness.” National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed May 12, 2024. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.  
  2. “Mental Health Benefits.” DOL. Accessed May 12, 2024. https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/health-plans/mental
  3. Lindner, Jannik. “Wellness App Industry Statistics • Worldmetrics.” WorldMetrics, May 2, 2024. https://worldmetrics.org/wellness-app-industry-statistics/.  
  4. “Workplace Stress.” The American Institute of Stress, February 15, 2023. https://www.stress.org/workplace-stress.  
  5. Kim, Shin-Ae, Chunhui Suh, Mi-Hee Park, Kunhyung Kim, Chae-Kwan Lee, Byung-Chul Son, Jeong-Ho Kim, et al. “Effectiveness of a Comprehensive Stress Management Program to Reduce Work-Related Stress in a Medium-Sized Enterprise.” Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 26, no. 1 (February 13, 2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/2052-4374-26-4. Accessed May 12, 2024. 
  6. “2023 Work in America Survey: Workplaces as Engines of Psychological Health and Well-Being.” American Psychological Association, 2022. https://www.apa.org/pubs/reports/work-in-america/2023-workplace-health-well-being.  
  7. “Investing in Treatment for Depression and Anxiety Leads to Fourfold Return.” World Health Organization, April 13, 2016. https://www.who.int/news/item/13-04-2016-investing-in-treatment-for-depression-and-anxiety-leads-to-fourfold-return.  
  8. Talkspace Research | Clinical Studies in behavioral health. Accessed May 12, 2024. https://www.talkspace.com/research

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