Are you supporting mental health?

A robust mental health strategy is built on a proactive, comprehensive and integrated approach, to ensure holistic mental wellbeing, that provides need based solutions which are accessible to employees at the right time and right set up.
Nimitha Menon
Workplace Health Consulting Leader, MMB India

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on mental health across the globe. As a result, employee emotional well-being has risen rapidly up the corporate agenda.

Moving beyond Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

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 programs that support mental health.

While an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has traditionally been the cornerstone of an employer’s mental health strategy, new solutions are allowing organizations 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:

  • Use data to understand employees’ needs: It is important for employers to understand the unique mental health needs of their population. The insights from using data from medical, disability, local compulsory psychosocial screenings, voluntary anonymous assessments, occupational health reports, health screenings and EAP programs can help employers evaluate the main behavioral issues among their workforce and implement the most appropriate programs and resources.
  • Offer value to employees: A one-size-fits-all approach to mental health has never been optimal. Organizations should consider tailoring programs to address the specific needs of their workforce across the spectrum of behavioral health, mental health, substance-use disorder concerns and critical conditions such as suicide and violence.
  • Reduce stigma: Employers should equip managers and supervisors with the skills to identify early warning signs of stress and mental health issues and use leadership initiatives to advance the conversation and remove the barriers around talking about mental health. 

A strong mental health strategy allows an employer to set a framework, identify gaps, address employee preferences and cover needs across the entire spectrum of mental health conditions.