Why mental health benefits are becoming the most popular workplace perk
Mental health awareness hit an inflection point. More and more celebrities are speaking about their struggles. Lady Gaga has shared how difficult it’s to live with PTSD, Prince Harry has spoken about his battle with anxiety, and Michael Phelps revealed he struggles with depression. Famous people telling their stories help break down stigma, but unfortunately, don’t make people feel safe talking about their work issues. Even if 200 million workdays are lost every year because of mental health issues, they still remain a taboo subject. The sad truth is that 60% of employees have never spoken to their co-workers about their mental health.
Many are struggling with what’s happening in society socio-economically, politically, and morally. The world is facing systemic challenges, and with employees trying to manage their work and family responsibilities while working from home, the levels of anxiety and depression are rapidly spiking.
For many years, employers have made the call for their workers to bring their whole and authentic sales to the office. Still, this invitation creates a responsibility for companies to support individuals in all their struggles. With the pandemic affecting the entire planet, and employees forced to work from home, organizations have spruced up their wellbeing benefits by creating programs that allow people to monitor and reduce stress, creating apps that support relaxation and sleep, and holding sessions to relieve emotional resilience.
Why do organizations provide mental health benefits for their employees?
Mental health issues are complex and differ from an individual to another
Each employee has a different limit. Some masterly manage stress and compartmentalize the other things going in their lives. But even for them, things add up, and they suffer sometimes. Health issues, money struggles, personal problems, and work stress impact their mental and physical health. Also, many employees are secretly battling with substance abuse or other issues that weigh on them.
To answer why companies are more focused on offering mental health benefits, the website benefitnews.com revealed that many organizations are alarmed by the growing number of deaths from suicide and substance abuse. For a company, it’s challenging to determine the struggles their workers are going through. That’s why they put more resources in place to support their employees if they need it.
The health care reform and mental health protection requires employers to include mental health benefits into their programs
Under the Affordable Care Act from 2014, all medical plans must include minimum coverage for preventive care, substance use services, and mental health check-ups. Also, group benefit plans must provide coverage to everyone, no matter their mental health history. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act required plan administrators to treat all mental conditions similar to the process for approving a surgical intervention. Both Medicaid and Medicare offer essential coverage for substance abuse and mental health wellness.
The law protects patients struggling with mental health from being discriminated against by health insurance providers. But even with these measures in place, people using medication for mental illness are stigmatized and sometimes even restricted from applying to specific jobs. Unless the employees benefit from a good insurance plan or the employer offers mental health benefits, they cannot even get the help they need because they’d have to miss work to attend their therapy appointments.
A small step can go a long way
Organizations don’t wholly redo their benefit programs to address their employees’ mental health. But they offer new resources or expand the existing ones to provide more support. Apple, Target, and Starbucks are only some brands that focus on their employees’ well-being and mental health.
Starbucks is offering employees and their family members 20 free counseling sessions annually, beginning in April 2020. Everyone who works 20 hours or more weekly can take advantage of this mental health benefit. This program impacts over 220,000 US workers and their family members.
Target offers free access to online resources that support emotional, physical, and mental health. All employees can use Daylight, a website and app that helps them navigate worry and stress, and Sleepio, an app that improves sleep. Since April 2020, they can also access free virtual fitness classes through an app called Wellbeats.
No resource is too small or too big when it comes to mental health. Every small change and every new benefit can save an individual from struggling with mental health symptoms. By merely offering to cover part of the treatment employees need to alleviate their mental health symptoms can encourage them to seek help. Sometimes, all individuals need to recover is therapy and a natural treatment like OrganicCBDNugs’ CBD Flower Joints. More and more people rely on the benefits CBD products have in fighting conditions like anxiety and depression because they improve their condition without triggering side effects like drowsing that prevents them from working.
Mental health benefits make companies more attractive to prospective employees
Organizations don’t provide mental health solely because they’re concerned about their workers’ wellbeing; they also do it because it’s an effective way to boost brand reputation. Job seekers closely check the benefits companies offer when they compare employers, and they find the ones that offer mental health programs more attractive for many reasons. They think the employer is compassionate enough to care about their employees, and the company supports them in making changes based on their needs.
As the 2020 and the pandemic move forward, it’s expected more and more brand to beef up their mental health offerings, especially if they want to attract millennial talent. 68% of companies plan to boost their emphasis on mental health benefits in the following years.
At a minimum, organizations must extend the list of mental health benefits and to highlight their confidential nature. Some employees are unaware of their companies’ benefits or are afraid to use them because they think their co-workers may put a stigma on them. Therefore, alongside adding mental health benefits to the business of offerings the organizations provide, they also need to ensure all workers are aware and know how to use them.