There’s more to healthcare than just physical health. Annual check-ups and care for injuries or illnesses are important, but so is managing stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. You can offer your employees a group healthcare plan that emphasizes both of these aspects of their well-being. Doing this will not only have a positive impact on your employees’ lives, but will also help keep your business running smoothly.
Stress & Anxiety in the Workplace
It won’t come as a surprise to any employer that working can sometimes equal stress, and even anxiety. But there are some concrete numbers that may surprise you. Around 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of mental illness in a given year, close to 60% say they are suffering from “burnout,” and more than 70% of workers say that stress and anxiety interferes with their lives.
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) 2006 Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey, employees said that stress and anxiety most often impacts their:
- workplace performance (56%)
- relationship with coworkers and peers (51%)
- quality of work (50%)
- relationships with superiors (43%)
These numbers should sound an alarm for you. Stress at work affects job performance, negatively impacts the culture of your workplace, and can also spill over into your employees’ outside life. They may have troubling sleeping, difficulties with their relationships, and may even end up suffering from depression.
A Culture of Silence?
There is hope. Almost 90% of employees who get help for mental health issues report feeling better about their job, more productive at work, and less likely to take time off, according to a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. But before that relief can come, they need to be able to ask for help. Is your workplace a safe environment for expressing anxiety and talking about stress? It might not be.
Many employees are not comfortable speaking to their employer about their stress or other mental health concerns. Again according to the ADAA survey, only 40% of employees whose stress was getting in the way of their job had talked to their employers about it. Of those who did speak to their employer, only 4 in 10 reported being offered some sort of help.
It is up to you as an employer to make sure that your employees know they can ask for help if they need it. They also need to know that they will be listened to and offered some sort of help. One way you can do this is by normalizing mental health care: make clear that you take your employees’ mental health seriously, and make your mental healthcare plan as comprehensive and accessible as your physical healthcare plan.
Make Mental Health a Priority
Employees need to feel safe and comfortable asking for help at work, but they also need practical ways to access that help. Fortunately, it’s much easier nowadays to prioritize mental health care. To show your employees that their mental health is a priority, you can
- Offer them an ACA-approved healthcare plan. Simple, right? You were going to offer them this benefit anyway, and mental health coverage is actually one of the 10 essential benefits that must be covered under all of these plans. Make it clear to your employees that these benefits are included, and give them all relevant info on how to access the included services.
- Look for mental-health specific add-ons. One of the fastest growing and most popular “extras” you can add to your employee health plan is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs offer, among other things, a number of helpful mental health services at no cost to employees, like in-person or telephone counseling. Adding these programs may cost you a little bit extra, but they are worth it: you are showing your employees that you care about their mental health – and you are keeping your workforce healthy and productive. You are also protecting them against future stress-related physical illnesses that could end up costing more in the long run.
- Try out well-being apps. While these digital benefits don’t replace therapy, they are easy to use and a great supplement to other mental health care benefits, especially for younger employees.
- Add telehealth options to your plan. While apps can be fun, quick, and easy, some people prefer to speak to someone directly. Offering telehealth options removes some of the barriers of seeking in-person counseling or therapy.
- Make your workspace a mental health-friendly place. If you have a workplace wellness program, don’t just focus on weight-loss goals or quitting smoking, focus on mental well-being, as well. Even if you don’t have one of these programs, you can still do small things to reduce stress in your workplace like offering yoga classes, having a meditation room, or even just encouraging break times that allow employees to get outside and walk together. These small steps obviously will not treat mental illness, but they will help to relieve stress and will also show that you care about your employees’ mental health.
Mental illness, stress, anxiety – all of these things are steadily increasing in our complicated world. Unfortunately, for most people, work is just another part of the problem. However, you can be the kind of employer who takes these issues seriously, listens to your employees, and offers them the help that they need. Make mental health a priority in your workplace, and you will find yourself with a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce. If you need help finding the right healthcare plan with the right mental health coverage, come to EZ.Insure. We’ve got the answers that you’re looking for, right now, for free. You can start by simply entering your zip code in the bar above to get a quote, or call 888-998-2027 to speak to an agent.