Mental health is getting a lot of attention in the workplace, from the boardroom to the water cooler. But it’s not all talk. Many organizations are working hard to offer mental health resources to their employees through their benefits package.
In fact, 74% of business leaders say they’ve made mental health resources available to their employees.1 That’s a great first step, but the stats show those businesses are still facing some hurdles.
- Only 45% of employees say they have the necessary resources to improve their mental health.
- And while 86% of employees said they faced at least one mental health challenge in the last year, only a third received mental health support through their employer.
What does that boil down to? Employers are either not offering the mental health resources their employees actually need, or they’re not doing a great job communicating about the available resources—or both!
Let’s talk about how you can choose the right mental health resources for your company’s benefits package and how you can make sure your team knows they can use them.
What Are Mental Health Resources and Why Do You Need Them?
Your employees have financial needs you fulfill by paying them for their work. In the same way, they also have mental health needs you can help them with by offering mental health resources.
Mental health resources are benefits, apps and programs you offer employees through your benefits package that specifically help them with their mental health. This can look like a therapy subscription, a meditation app or a counseling reimbursement.
Mental health resources aren’t just about taking care of your employees, though. Employers who offer mental health resources see a $4 return for every $1 they spend on these resources for their employees.2 Nearly half of employees say their mental health has made it hard for them to do their jobs to the best of their ability, according to the 2022 SmartDollar Employee Benefits Survey. So, if half your workforce is struggling to focus on their job, you can be sure it will affect your company’s productivity. But if you invest in your employees’ mental health by offering resources that meet their needs, you can boost their productivity while saving money.
3 Steps to Choosing Mental Health Resources for Your Employees
Choosing mental health resources for your employees isn’t calling the first therapist you find online or in the Yellowbook (do people still use that?). There’s a bit more to it. As a business leader, you need to choose resources that meet your employees’ needs and do what’s right for the business.
Here’s what to do:
1. Find out what your employees need.
When picking out mental health resources, it makes a lot of sense to start at the source—the people who use the benefits. Ask what they need or what they would find useful. If you currently offer mental health resources, find out what they like and dislike about them. Just by asking, you may find that some employees don’t even know you offer mental health resources.
Let your employees share their thoughts and suggestions anonymously. It’s the best way to get the most helpful information. You can have them drop a suggestion in a box, fill out an anonymous Google form, or respond to a survey. Then sort out the answers to find which requests show up the most often.
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The most important part of this step is that you actually do something with the results. A questionnaire or survey that doesn’t lead to change won’t get many responses the next time you try it. Plus, the goal here is to offer the right mental health resources for your employees. If they’re looking for meditation apps or a counseling reimbursement but you give them a book, they’ll be disappointed. And they won’t get the help they really need. Do what your business can afford, but if you’re restricted by your budget (and what business isn’t?), make that clear when you ask for feedback and suggestions.
2. Research options and meet with vendors.
Got your list of employees’ needs and wants? Great! It’s time to start researching your options and meeting with vendors to find the best resources that meet your budget and your employees’ needs.
Here are some of our recommendations for different needs:
- Finances: SmartDollar
- Meditation and Sleep: Calm
- Therapy: BetterHelp
- Full Wellness Care: Teladoc Health
Are there other options and ways to offer mental health resources to your employees? Absolutely. Some other ideas to consider are:
- A counseling reimbursement
- On-site therapy with a licensed therapist
- Daily walks (make sure you’ve created a culture where employees feel safe and comfortable to do this)
- Installing a gym or offering a workout space for employees
Research is definitely the most time-consuming part of choosing the right mental health resources for your employees. You’ll spend time online, on the phone, and going back and forth with email. But all the front-end work will be worth it once your employees can use the great resources you find.
3. Calculate the cost and finalize your offerings.
You know your budget, you got employee feedback, and you’ve compiled a list of resources you can afford. Now it’s time to finalize your offerings.
In a perfect world, employers want to give their employees everything they need to succeed. But a perfect world doesn’t have a budget—you do. With all the numbers in front of you, now’s the time to start building your mental health package for employees.
Every HR and business leader will come to their own conclusions about what to offer their employees, but you can use these guiding principles during the decision-making process with stakeholders:
- Stay within your budget.
- Meet the greatest needs based on employee feedback.
- Consider all areas of an employee’s life: work, home, family, travel, finances, etc.
- Ask yourself, “What would I want my leaders to offer me?”
These four guidelines will help you stay within the scope of your budget while meeting your employees where they’re at with their mental health.
Sharing Information About Your Mental Health Resources With Your Employees
The work doesn’t stop once you have your mental health resources ready for your employees. It’s time to share the news and explain the package!
When talking with your employees about the available mental health resources, don’t be shy. Tell them once, twice, thrice and then tell them again. You added mental health resources to your benefits package to meet their needs. Make sure they know about them!
Here are a few ways we like to tell our employees about benefits at Ramsey Solutions:
- Sending emails
- Posting Teams messages
- Announcements at staff meetings
- Hanging posters and displaying screensavers on office TVs
- Screaming it from the rooftops (okay, maybe not . . . unless your employees are roofers—then it’s fine)
You know when your kids start rolling their eyes because you’ve repeated something so many times they know it by heart? Yeah, that’s what we want here. Get your employees to the point where they can finish your sentences about mental health resources. It’s worth it for their mental health and your business.
Digital Mental Health Resources for You and Your Employees
No matter what you decide to offer your employees in their benefits package, there are a few things you can give them at no cost to you—like a list of links, phone numbers and websites about mental health. Make this list of resources readily available for all your employees! Here are a few links to help get you started:
- American Psychiatric Association’s Center for Workplace Mental Health
- International Employee Assistance Professionals Association
- Mental Health America
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Mental Health Resources for Employees
- Mental Health America Screening Tool
- Workplace Wellness Research
- Stress Screener
- FMLA for Mental Health
- Mental Health Accommodations for Work
- Fear of Losing Your Job
- Managing Stress at Work
Mental Health Resources for Employers
- 5 Ways to Support Employee Mental Health in the Workplace
- Beating Burnout at Work
- Mental Health Works Guide
- Mental Health Month Toolkit
- 988 Crisis Hotline
Offer the Best Mental Health Resources Possible
Nearly 9 out of 10 employees have experienced a mental health challenge in the last year.3 But with only 74% of employers offering mental health resources, employees are struggling to find help. If you’re already offering some kind of mental health resource for your employees, great! But don’t stop at “good enough”—offer the resources your employees need. And if you’re not providing mental health resources yet, you need to get on the ball to stay competitive in this job market. Applicants are interviewing you for the right fit just as much as you’re interviewing them.
With the right strategy and resources, you can serve your employees and help your business’ bottom line. Learn how you can continue supporting employee well-being in the workplace.