What is an Annual Mental Health Checkup?
Just like a yearly physical exam, an annual mental health checkup or screening is a form of preventative care. The goal is to have your psychologist or psychiatrist evaluate your mental health, assess any symptoms you may have, and detect the early signs of conditions such as depression or anxiety. Early identification and treatment are key to preventing more serious versions of the condition.
What Are the Benefits of Annual Mental Health Checkups?
The most notable benefit of a mental health checkup is the early detection of any mental illnesses. However, a benefit that everyone can experience from the checkup is a mental health “tune up.” Taking the time to talk with a psychiatrist or psychologist allows you to take a step back and evaluate, as well as reflect on, your life, your relationships, and your feelings. This helps provide a better understanding of the world, yourself, and those around you. It can even help you define what may be causing you stress and/or frustration. From there, your psychiatrist or psychologist will provide you with the tools you need to create a successful plan to nurture your mental health between checkups. Overall, annual mental health checkups allow for personal and emotional growth in an individual and helps set them up for success and wellbeing.
How Can Employers Encourage Annual Mental Health Checkups?
According to The Benefits Guide, employers play an important role in making sure employees have access to mental health checkups and feel comfortable seeking help. The biggest step to take is creating a culture of holistic wellbeing, one that removes the stigma around the topic of mental health. When employers have open and honest communication about mental health, include programs that educate employees about mental health, and provide mental health care as part of their wellness program, then employees are more likely to embrace mental wellbeing and seek out professional help when they need it. The Benefits Guide recommends taking the following steps:
- Adding access to checkups and screenings as part of preventive care in your benefits plan
- Offering courses on mental health first aid
- Offering free on-site counseling sessions for both employees and family members
- Incorporating online resources and tools that employees can access 24/7
- Sending out reminders at the start of the new year for mental health checkups
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