Challenging times increase need for employee mental health support

Challenging times increase need for employee mental health support

Work Wisdom

Challenging times increase need for employee mental health support

Americans are experiencing the highest levels of anxiety and depression since the start of the pandemic, according to Mental Health America, a community-based nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about mental health and addressing the needs of individuals living with mental illness. The organization also reported 19% (47.1 million) of people in the U.S. are living with a mental health condition, a 1.5 million increase over last year’s report.

Consistent with the general population, employee mental health challenges have become increasingly common, with the potential of disrupting employees’ ability to lead productive lives, at home and at work. Disability benefits and behavioral health programs are ways employers can support their employees in these challenging times.

Early Intervention Behavioral Health Support Solutions are key

Experts predict the widespread mental health problems of Americans caused by working and living through the pandemic will reverberate into the future. As such, employers are being challenged to provide added, targeted employee benefits to their workforce. 

Failing to do so could prove costly. Depression already costs American businesses over $51 billion in absenteeism from work and productivity lost. Left untreated and without support, employees who experience mental health issues could fuel an increase in disability and unemployment rates. And if more people leave the workforce, finding, onboarding, and training new employees could cost businesses more time and money.

Workplace mental health includes implementing a broad-based early intervention program that helps employees resolve stress and other challenges before they turn into a more serious mental health disorder. This includes:

  • Easy, flexible and private access that lets employees engage wherever they are, whenever they’re ready.
  • Supportive communications and education to combat the stigmatization of mental health.
  • Holistic approach provides options for everyone, at various points along the mental health spectrum.
  • Tailored programs based on personalized assessments match employees with support that fits.

Unum Behavioral Health offers these types of services and support to employers and their employees.

Leave Services and Disability Insurance provides support while on leave

Employers should also recognize that mental health conditions can be just as debilitating as any visible physical injury or illness.

Living with mental health conditions can affect employee engagement and productivity. Leave services and Disability insurance can help provide for employees and their families when a mental health challenge rises to the level where an employee is unable to work.

During the pandemic, Unum has seen an increase in STD claims and leaves due to behavioral health conditions. Unum disability coverage, including Individual Disability Insurance, pays for disabilities related to mental conditions for up to 24 months over the life of the policy. Options such as coverage for the full maximum period of payment are also available at an additional cost, depending on the policy.

By providing behavioral health support and disability benefits and leave services, employers can help address one of the most important workforce heath priorities facing them now and in the future.

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