Helping employees access mental health resources is a top priority for employers in the coming year, as businesses strive to adapt and compete in a post-pandemic environment, according to a recent national survey from the Business Group on Health.
The survey – which included 136 large employers across the country whose healthcare plans collectively cover more than 8 million people – found 91% of respondents are concerned about long-term mental health issues like depression and anxiety resulting from the pandemic.
“Social isolation and uncertainty due to the fluid nature of the pandemic proved to be an impetus for depression, anxiety and substance use disorders,” the survey notes, predicting those dynamics could lead to “greater numbers of people with long-term mental health and substance use issues and other adverse effects.”
To help address this concern, 76% of the survey’s respondents said they plan to make increased access to mental health services a priority for 2022, while 57% said they plan to focus on reducing the stigma around discussing and seeking help for mental health needs. It marks the first time in the annual survey’s history that a majority of employers said they will mount an effort to address mental health stigma.
Your health insurer can be an important partner in the effort. Capital Blue Cross, for instance, offers a mental wellness toolkit to help employers address mental wellness issues in the workplace.
The toolkit – portions of which are available to employers regardless of whether they have Capital BlueCross coverage – offers resources to spur conversations about mental wellness issues and help drive greater awareness of behavioral health resources.
Of course, encouraging workers to talk about and seek treatment for mental health issues is not just good for them as individuals, it’s also beneficial for a business. Studies have found employees who are effectively treated for mental health issues tend to have improved effectiveness at work and increased job satisfaction.