Even before the pandemic, we realized that mental health isn’t just a perk. It’s just as important as preventive physical health care.
We collaborated with different partners to design a program that addresses the full spectrum of needs, from mild symptoms like stress to anxiety disorders and even severe issues like suicidal thoughts and actions.
But it didn’t happen overnight.
Early on, our mental health care provider offered therapy options. But employee feedback data revealed needs requiring resources beyond therapy alone.
Talking about it
We followed up with our employees about what they said in surveys and discovered a few people that were passionate about educating others on taking care of their mental health.
An employee resources group organically grew out these conversations and they asked to start holding virtual meetings on their own company Slack channel.
Later leadership partnered with the group and speakers were brought in to lead workshops on topics like parenting challenges and coping with loneliness during COVID-19.
Personal testimonials from executives helped take the stigma out of utilizing mental health care.
When we added mental health coaching and encouraged the use of self-care apps like Calm, we saw how important it is to recognize that different people have different needs at different times.
For example, back to school time triggered severe anxiety for some of the parents in our workforce.
Employee use of our mental health resources increased over the past year and it’s encouraging to know they’re getting the care they need.
Where to start
Finding meaningful solutions to fit your organization doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process.
Webinars on behavioral and mental health can be helpful because you can hear about what other businesses have tried.
It’s also worth asking your benefits brokers and consultants what they have to offer.
Try surveying your employees to get a sense of how they’re feeling. Are they as productive now as they were in 2019? Are they struggling with work/life balance?
Multidimensional mental health support leads to a reduction in the costs from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover, while maintaining positive company culture.
Launching a continuum of mental health benefits has made our employees feel supported. They’re more resilient and productive.
(Alice Vichaita, head of global benefits, Pinterest, as presented during the webinar Full-Spectrum Care: Designing a Mental Health Solution that Supports Everyone)