Turning health risk into value: Are you supporting mental health and wellbeing? 

The pandemic has highlighted the need for employers to have a strategy in place that prioritises supporting mental health in the workplace.

The pandemic has highlighted the need for better access to mental healthcare, as more people suffer from stress, loneliness and depression. At the same time, complex mental health issues like addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder are on the rise.

Employers that had previously taken a passive approach to supporting employee health and wellbeing are now trying to proactively create workplace benefit programmes that support mental health.

While an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) has traditionally been the cornerstone of an employer’s mental health strategy, new solutions are allowing organisations to focus on prevention, resilience and internal policies.

For instance, digital platforms for scientifically validated therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can make it easier to offer solutions to all employees, improving access to care options outside of traditional face-to-face counselling.

When building a comprehensive strategy to support mental health concerns, there are three key items to keep in mind:

  1. Use data to understand employees’ needs
    It is important for employers to understand the unique mental health needs of their population.
  2. Offer value to employees
    A one-size-fits-all approach to mental health has never been optimal.
  3. Reduce stigma
    Employers should equip managers and supervisors with the skills to identify early warning signs of stress and mental health issues.
A strong employee mental health strategy allows an employer to set a framework, identify gaps, address employee preferences and cover needs across the spectrum of mental health conditions.
Wolfgang Seidl

Partner, Leader of Workplace Health Consulting UK and Europe, Mercer Marsh Benefits

Building a comprehensive strategy across the four pillars of wellbeing

Since the start of the global pandemic, employee health has moved rapidly up the corporate agenda. Firms are beginning to understand that caring for employees is both productive and cost-effective.

This shift has highlighted the need for benefits professionals to work with colleagues in occupational health and safety, risk management, talent acquisition and human resource (HR) delivery to create a comprehensive approach to wellbeing.

To be effective, wellbeing should be a complete strategy that encompasses benefits, workforce engagement, and company culture, rather than a checklist of individual initiatives.

Strong wellbeing strategies include four pillars - physical, emotional, social and financial - that influence an individuals’ sense of purpose, increase happiness and promotes health.

Strong wellbeing strategies benefit employers, employees, and greater society.

About the author(s)
Dr. Wolfgang Seidl
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