Mental Health at Work: How Employers Can Help
By Hillary Kuehl, May 7, 2019
Employers can better support the mental health of their employees and help them thrive at work
Although a certain level of stress at work is normal, excessive workplace stress can leave a lasting impact on an employee's health, productivity and relationships- at work and at home. Even though mental health is typically seen as a taboo topic at work, employees are turning to employeers to support their mental health and well-being:
- Nearly 75% of employees say they want employers to champion their mental health and well being- which rates higher than ratings for equality (48%), sustanibility (38%) and diversity (31%).
- 39% of Job seekers rate Behavioral Health benefits as a top priority
- Over half of employees with Wellness Programs say they create real, substantial benefits
- and 73% of employees without access to wellness programs say they want one
"The businesses who are tapping into what people actually want from their workplace—and investing in their culture and their employees—are the ones that are becoming the next great global brands and the most sought-after places to work"- Alex Kholl, Forbes
However, many employer health programs aren’t meeting their employees’ behavioral health needs: One in three people say they have paid directly for behavioral health services because their benefits are inadequate. Additionally, one fifth of people say don’t take advantage of behavioral health services offered through their employer because they are concerned that if their employer finds out, it will damage their career (Benefits Pro).
What Employers Can Do to Help
Although discussing Mental Health can be a difficult topic for employers to tackle, there are many ways in which employers can contribute to their employees well-being. Behavioral Health and Wellness Programs aren't the only piece of the puzzle either; Employers can work to foster a work culture that encourages collaboration, social connection and open communication and instill policies that reduce stress, such as:
- Providing a line of open, honest communication
- Fostering a work culture that encourages collaboration and social connection
- Flexibile work hours and parental leave, regardless of gender
- Setting challenging but realistic goals and room for advancement
- Treating employees with trust and allowing for autonomy
- Providing workspaces that encourage collaboration and the freedom to move about during the day
- Encouraging employees to unplug after hours and on the weekends
With the right strategies in place, employers can work to reduce workplace stress and create a more positive, productive and healthy workplace for everyone.