More Employers Expand Mental Health Benefits

More Employers Expand Mental Health Benefits

America’s workers are more stressed than ever, and an increasing number of people are also struggling with mental health issues. Sadly, the number of people dying from drugs, alcohol and suicide hit record levels in 2019. When someone is battling addiction or has mental health issues, it affects all aspects of their life, including work. Stress can have a significant adverse impact on business.

It costs employers an average of $300 billion a year in stress-related health care and missed work, according to a Harris Poll conducted for Purchasing Power. That’s why more employers are stepping up to provide their workers with benefits to support behavioral health and emotional wellbeing.

Employee assistance programs

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) offer a set amount of free therapy sessions, typically topping out at five to eight per year. But for many people who are experiencing mental health issues, this may not be enough. Some employers are offering EAPs that cover a higher number of therapy sessions and wider range of treatment options, including therapy and mental health coaching. More employers are offering EAPs that cover a spectrum of behavioral health care options, such as:

  • Self-care apps for those with occasional stress
  • In-person therapy sessions
  • Virtual therapy sessions
  • Prescription medication

Companies usually offer EAPs at no cost to their employees. Most employers operate their EAP through a third-party administrator, which can be crucial to the success of your EAP.

Don’t forget your health insurance

There is an extensive list of mental health services your health plan should provide your staff. These services include outpatient and inpatient treatment, telemedicine, medication and counseling. There will likely be out-of-pocket costs for your employees that use these services under their group health plans.

Other options

Besides offering an EAP, there are other benefits that you can extend to your workers that can help them better deal with the ordeals of life and work, including:

Parental leave – Becoming a new parent is extremely stressful. If you don’t offer parental leave, and instead require parents to take unpaid time off, such as under the Family and Medical Leave Act, this stress is compounded. Paternal leave is paid time off for new parents, either mom or dad, after the birth or adoption of a child.

It gives parents the opportunity to take care of their new child without the stress of work getting in the way. The benefit to the employer is that when the worker returns from their leave, they are more productive, sooner. Consider offering this to both male and female employees.

Paid time off – PTO combines sick leave and vacation time. It gives employees a set bank of time off at the beginning of each year. Employees can then choose whenever and however they want to use this time off.

Flexible work – Flexible work is a great way to help employees with mental health issues. This benefit can include flexible hours (selecting hours they will work), flexible schedule (selecting when they work) and flexible location (like telecommuting).

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