Mental Health in the Workforce

This month I want to dedicate our entire newsletter to Mental Health in the workforce. This is personal to me, and becoming one of the single most impactful issues for employers today, this topic deserves a better understanding of the real issues.

Mental Health In the Workforce Today

This crisis affects not only your employees but their family members. Over 3 million children have been diagnosed with a serious emotional or behavioral condition, and the rates of adolescent depression have nearly doubled. Even for young people without pre-existing issues, isolation from peers and normal activities has impacted their mental health. The “Great Resignation” has many roots in this issue as workers reevaluate their lives. They are looking for help to navigate the stress of the pandemic, the overwhelming feeling their destiny is out of their control in a very uncertain world.
According to the recent Massachusetts Foundation Survey, more than one in three adults reported needing behavioral health care for themselves or a family member over the last 12 months. Among those who responded to the survey, said they needed behavioral health care, 26% did not receive any. This was disproportionately higher among younger adults, aged 19 to 29, people of color, and lower-income individuals.

As you can see by this chart from SAMSHA Annual Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health, there is a severe problem among your workforce.

Your first line of defense is to engage your Human Resource Department where you can.

You can’t see mental health challenges, but they are happening all around you. Mental health issues are afflicting people in your workforce. Pre-pandemic, 1 in 5 people in the U.S. had some form of mental disorder; the numbers have skyrocketed since then. This can be a very tricky and delicate proposition for your HR Department that may not have the necessary training or background.
Suppose you or your team is worried about legal implications when discussing mental health concerns. In that case, a “rule of thumb” is to tie any questions you ask to observable behaviors that are related to work performance. For example, questions that probe wanting to understand why performance has dipped, a new or noticeable level of disengagement, or speaking more often in a sharp tone are on the right path. Steer away from rumors, personal assumptions, or detailed health questions. Don’t make comments that offer a medical diagnosis or ask questions about relationship status or medications.
According to the Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey , 46 percent of Generation Zs and 41 percent of Millennials said they felt stressed all or most of the time. Among surveyed women, who have been disproportionately impacted by pandemic-related job losses and family care concerns, nearly half said they felt stressed all or most of the time. They are finding no relief at work: *4 in 10* respondents believe their employers have *not taken actions to support their mental well-being* during this disruptive period.

The workplace could use a little more fun these days.

As companies struggle with talent shortages and negativity about work itself, making the workplace “more fun” might seem like a Herculean task. It doesn’t have to be. There are some very simple short-term solutions. Consider merging work with play. The act of singing, joking, and other forms of whimsy significantly minimize the stress impactors of high-intensity tasks like creative ideation and sales.
The Deloitte research has found that leading companies that merge work with play have a competitive advantage. “Companies that embrace fun as an intentional cultural value tend to have more success because it’s known as a widespread organizational aspiration; some organizations are using workplace fun to recruit, retain, and develop their current workforce by offering an upbeat working environment few would want to leave.” Talk with your team to find the most appropriate activities for your organization.

A more direct option is to incorporate both mental & behavioral telehealth into your health plan.

It is the most accessible and least obtrusive benefit you can offer that will significantly impact this new work environment. While the rapid embrace of telehealth during the pandemic was borne out of necessity, there is indeed a rich evidence base demonstrating that virtual behavioral health delivery is effective and equivalent to face-to-face care in diverse populations and in various settings. Virtual behavioral therapy has been demonstrated to be effective in treating depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other common conditions.
When high-quality virtually-delivered interventions are utilized in populations with medical comorbidities, clinical improvement in quality of life and chronic disease self-management behaviors can also be achieved, promoting a reduction in avoidable hospital admissions. Employers are starting to recognize the value of providing mental and behavioral support to their employees. Investing in measures to manage depression, stress and anxiety early on can help boost job satisfaction, retention, and productivity and help prevent costly treatment for physical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes down the road.

Potential outcomes for integrating telehealth:

Achieving these outcomes associated with treating mental health conditions are all the more important during a time when preventive care and optimal lifestyle behaviors may be more challenging. For individuals undergoing existing mental health treatment who were concerned about the risk of COVID-19 exposure, telehealth has also allowed for continuity of mental health care. That continuity is critical to mitigating adverse mental health outcomes that could have otherwise occurred because of delayed mental health and substance use treatment.
Health and well-being leaders play a vital role in reducing stigma and promoting care solutions through clear communication and an organization-wide well-being culture that prioritizes mental health. Connecting individuals with high-quality mental health care, including virtually-delivered solutions, during COVID-19 and beyond, may help mitigate adverse workplace and health outcomes associated with untreated mental health conditions.

Reset Healthcare believes in the importance of supporting behavioral and mental health services.

That is why we include unlimited , no-cost telehealth behavioral and mental health programs at NO ADDITIONAL COST in our services or those to the employee or employer. Most importantly, these services are not limited to the plan member but up to 8 household dependents at NO ADDITIONAL COST.
We are here to support your greatest asset, your employee and their family; their well-being is deeply interconnected.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via phone, email, or my calendar.

Regards,
David Loggins
CEO, Reset Healthcare.

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