Did you know that 75% of people who experience mental distress try to resolve their issues without professional help? And 95% search for answers on their own, typically online, using unvalidated resources.*
Organizations of all sizes are rethinking how they take care of the mental health of their people using a holistic perspective. This has quickly become the topic of conversation among benefit leaders as they examine the programs they offer, through an equity and inclusion lens, in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Benefit leaders are questioning whether their programs actually meet people where they are, and oftentimes the answer is no. Leaders recognize that age, disability/ability, gender, sex, race, nationality, color, religion, marital status, and so on need to be considered if they’re ever going to achieve an equitable and diverse workplace where all feel welcome. And this is especially true when it comes to mental health.
So what is your organization doing to create a culture that focuses on mental health and provides support for people in crisis?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is Together for Mental Health. This is a great time to remind employees about how they can use their benefits to improve their mental and emotional well-being. A communications campaign that highlights your benefits, programs, and resources about mental and emotional well-being, and engages leadership in the delivery of that messaging, can encourage your people to use those offerings. Take, for example, a mental health awareness campaign that a multiemployer group promoted last year. This group increased awareness about the type of help and resources available through their program with quarterly home mailings, direct emails to the members, and business manager outreach. Because of these efforts, their employees’ utilization of their Member Assistance Program more than doubled.
The stress caused by the pandemic has hit people managers especially hard. Not only have they faced their own personal challenges, they’re also on the front lines supporting employees. Consider providing dedicated communications to managers to help them recognize mental health challenges in themselves and others—and to point them to relevant resources. For example, you could provide talking points for managers about where to go for help and how to use the benefits. If a manager has a team member who needs help, they’ll be able to connect the person with the right resources.
Also, don’t forget about family members. The multiemployer group mentioned above saw employee assistance plan utilization rates from family members alone climb as high as 60%. Consider sending mailings such as postcards or newsletters to your employees’ homes instead of handing them out at work. This is an effective way to reach everyone, not just employees. Family and home life is an important component of your employees’ overall well-being.
Use these tips to help your organization come together in support of mental health awareness now and throughout the year.
We're proud to work with organizations that value their people. If you want to learn more, we’d love to talk.
* Source: crediblemind.com
Diane Swisher, VP Senior Consultant, has more than 15 years of experience helping organizations develop and execute employee communications strategies and campaigns.