You’re intentional about why you offer your unique mental health benefits and how access to those benefits can improve your people’s day-to-day. You’re hoping to see your engagement increase, your retention rates rise, and your morale improve — all signs that your people know you are contributing to mental health support in more than just financial ways.
Here are three recent stats with practical actions that will demonstrate to your people that you care.
Stat 1: 60% of employees expect employers to contribute to mental health support.
Action 1: Let your employees know how much you’re already supporting them. Then…go further and communicate how much (or how little!) time, money and effort it will cost them to access their benefit.
A flyer, an email, a phone call or a DM – can go a long way when someone needs it most. (Consider this: You may never even hear about it, but the phone call you made or the flyer you distributed could be or has been the one motivation that someone noticed that day to make a life-improving call).
If 60% of employees expect this benefit, at least some of them are hoping that you will follow up.
Stat 2: Mental health is reported in some instances by employees as the reason that 50% or more are going to any doctor in the first place.
Action 2: Let it be okay! Destigmatize going to the doctor or taking the afternoon off for a mental health appointment. Old people talk about their hip replacements. Moms talk about their c-sections. All kinds of people talk about their eye laser surgeries and their children’s tonsillectomies. It is okay for someone (or you! or me!) to mention getting back from or going to a therapy appointment.
Enough already with the awkwardness around everyone’s need for a little talk therapy or medication. It’s as common as blood pressure or asthma medication, and it’s not inappropriate for employees to bring these treatments up in the office as long as it doesn’t turn into an uncomfortable overshare. Getting some talk therapy is no longer an occasion for the self-shamed hush-hush cubical confessions of a lonely employee. Let it be okay.
When a therapy appointment comes up, see as an occasion to praise the benefits you’ve chosen to offer your people! Take the chance to inquire whether the access and appointment set-up was intuitive and simple. Say something (appropriate) about your own therapist interactions to prompt a connecting self-report from someone who may have just used the benefit for the first time. You might receive some useful feedback!
Engage. Acknowledge. Support mental health awareness with more than a hashtag. Make the workplace a safe space for people who are taking care of themselves thanks to the shared company benefits that you’ve worked so carefully to provide.
Stat 3: Employee assistance programs that include behavioral health support are seeing through-the-roof interaction.
Action 3: Again, communicate it. Send an email and make some print collateral that highlights (a) how to access the employee assistance program, (b) who is eligible and (c) how to easily navigate behavioral health support resources.
After a year spent hyper analyzing news, health trends, work conditions and social engagements, employees are sufficiently versed in the corporate lingua franca of self-care. The bare minimum companies can do when seeking to employ post-pandemic humans is to make it damn clear that we are glad they are here.
Plenty of data exists on how a company’s bottom line is positively impacted when its workforce feels mentally healthy and psychologically safe. Assess and follow up with your employees to ensure they know about their behavioral health benefits and feel comfortable accessing those benefits when they need them.