Employee Mental Health

According to the CDC, Mental health disorders are among the most burdensome health concerns in the United States. Nearly 1 in 5 US adults reported at least one type of mental illness in 2016. With 24/7 connectivity, workplace stress, and employee burnout on the rise, the number of reported mental illness are too. As stated by the CDC, poor mental health leads to deteriorating physical health, decreased physical capability, and simple tasks and daily functioning to become more difficult. Specifically in the workplace, unaddressed mental illness causes reduced job performance and productivity, decreased engagement, and the inability to communicate efficiently with coworkers. According to Forbes, mental health was one of the most wide-reaching workplace issues of 2019 and it will continue to be a focus for employers in 2020.

Wellness Programs and Mental Health

Historically, there has been a fear of discussing mental health in the workplace. However, there has been significant progress the last couple of years. This is mainly contributed to the increase in workplace wellness programs and the increased focus on creating a culture of health in the workplace. In addition to their wellness programs, nearly 90% of organizations have added some sort of mental health coverage, To further improve mental health, data from Human Resource Executive shows that employers have also enhanced or incorporated EAPs, substance abuse treatment and coverage, mental health assessments, mental health education, and stress management programs.

Mental Health Apps

The efforts being made to improve mental health in the workplace have been successful. Mental health benefits are becoming more sought after from job seekers and employees, and 86% of employees who have used their benefits reported improvements. However, more can be done to help break the stigma of mental health and seeking treatment. One way employers are working towards this goal in 2020 is by introducing mental health apps.

For example, Starbucks recently announced that all its employees now have free access to Headspace, an app which provides hundreds of audio sessions and meditations to manage and improve mental health, and Benefitfocus now offers Happify, a mood training mental health app that teaches resiliency through gamification, on its BenefitsPlace platform. Research shows that these kind of mental health applications have numerous benefits, which include:

  • Providing accessible, efficient, and portable care to employees
  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Improving mindset, mood, creativity, and productivity
  • Appealing to younger generations through quick tips and short videos
  • Supplementing other mental health resources
  • Helping to attract and retain top talent

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