More than likely you offer some kind of mental health benefits. But is what you’re offering enough? Are the benefits effective?
Believe it or not 56% of employees with a diagnosable mental illness didn’t get mental health care in 2020, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
Part of the problem stems from employees’ lack of knowledge of the benefits available to them.
So while many firms think they’re fulfilling their employees’ mental health needs, in reality, they aren’t.
The school of thought that says any mental health care is better than none, is wrong. A review of mental health outcomes shows that quality matters, found Lyra’s State of Mental Health at Work Report 2021.
When evaluating which “quality” mental health benefits you should offer some key criteria are:
- Measurement-based care – The ability to measure outcomes is vital. If the effectiveness of your mental health benefits can’t be measured, how do you know they’re helping your employees? And if they aren’t helping, then why offer them? The benefits you offer need to be measurable in concrete data that shows whether employees’ mental health symptoms are improving based on the treatment.
The report, which surveyed 1,000 workers and 300 HR/Benefits leaders, found many firms lack that info. In fact, only 21% of the HR/Benefit pros said “they consider demonstrated clinical outcomes … to evaluate a program’s impact on employee well-being.” Most only look at workforce productivity or surveys to gauge the effectiveness.
- Highly skilled provider network – These providers need to be open to new patients and committed to using evidence-based therapies that have proven success in treating various mental health conditions.
- Comprehensive, personalized care – Your provider network also needs to be trained to treat the spectrum of mental health issues that include everything from stress to complex mental health diagnoses and treatment options from coaching to therapy to prescribing medications. And it also needs to offer an appropriate number of treatment sessions for the majority of people to experience positive improvement.
- A reputable mental health care partner – You want one with proven treatment efficacy and authentic customer references.
To truly make a positive impact on your employees’ mental health, firms have to do more than just talk about it. They need to intertwine it with company policies and processes.
The good news is the pandemic has brought to light the importance of mental health care, and 73% of those surveyed have plans to bump up their behavioral health related investments, and 58% are placing mental health benefits at the front of the line over other offerings in 2021.
It also has to be talked about and supported from the top down. It can’t just be HR/Benefit pros touting the benefits of the mental health benefits offered. Leadership must be a part of this conversation company wide to make it a legit company priority.
One way to do it, offer training to executives, supervisors and managers. Teach company leaders how to spot and respond to employees’ mental health challenges. This’ll help create an environment where employees feel safe to speak up about mental health issues and challenges without fear of ridicule or retribution.