One Canadian survey on mental health found that 23% of respondents had felt lonely occasionally or most of the time in past week. A similar study in the UK found similar rates of loneliness, with 23% of the survey population reporting feeling lonely in the previous two weeks. A study in South Korea revealed that 45% of the respondents had reported clinical levels of depression, anxiety or stress. And in the United States, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that 41% of adults reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.
As a result, employee emotional well-being has risen rapidly up the corporate agenda. Employers are alert to the importance of having a comprehensive health strategy in place, in particular supports for mental health. Those that had previously taken a passive approach to supporting employee health and well-being are now trying to proactively create workplace benefit programs that support mental health.
in Canada felt lonely occasionally or most of the time in the past week
in UK felt lonely in the previous two weeks
in South Korea reported clinical levels of depression, anxiety or stress
in US reported the pandemic negatively impacted their mental health
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:
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.
When carried out correctly, a review of offerings and the creation of a mental health pathway to ensure coordination across programs should benefit both the organization and the employees.
A large US-based financial services company operating in the UK
A review of how mental health cases were being managed by the existing providers that the company had in place, such as occupational health, private medical insurance, and onsite general practitioners (family medicine doctors). The company also wanted to evaluate the success of their EAP and look at utilization of existing benefits and costs.
Private medical claims costs for mental health conditions had risen significantly over a twelve-month period. The organization had also seen an increase in referrals to psychiatrists and hospital admissions, and it was unable to obtain a cohesive dataset due to lack of coordination between providers.
Mercer Mash Benefits (MMB) designed a mental health pathway that:
In addition, MMB identified the most appropriate psychological health outcome measures and provided advice on the design of an integrated data set.
In the first two years, there was a: