The simple answer? Yes! When employers contemplate what to build into their employee benefit plans, there’s typically a lot of emphasis on solutions that will address physical health. That seems to make sense since employers want to keep their staff healthy and minimize any time away from work. But things like biometric screenings, health coaching and disease management only represent one piece in the bigger wellness picture. Mental health should be a consideration, too.
I did a little digging and the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) reports that in 2014, there were 43.6 million adults in the U.S. with some sort of mental health illness. Take a look at the chart.
Whether they involve personal or work-related issues or a combination of the two, these illnesses can affect productivity, performance and missed work time just the same as physical ailments can. Plus, if left untreated, things like stress, anxiety and grief can multiply and put employees at risk for even bigger problems.
This is why behavioral health can’t be overlooked in the employee benefits equation.
As part of a larger-size TPA firm, I see the positive outcomes employers are experiencing by implementing behavioral health solutions like employee assistance programs (EAPs). Having these programs in place gives employees access to mental health resources whenever they are ready to reach out. They serve as a crucial starting point for many who need some help resolving the struggles that are affecting their work/home life.
I’ve also seen data that shows just how effective EAPs can be. Cases are often resolved in five or fewer sessions with minimal expense to the employer/self-funded plan. The process can result in employees improving their productivity, missing fewer work hours and, most importantly, feeling happier and healthier.