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Employee Benefits

Are You Communicating Mental Health Benefits Well?

Mark Fitzgibbons
Mark Fitzgibbons
Communication Director, Employee Benefits

With workplace-related anxiety and stress on the rise, employers who take the time to educate employees about the programs and resources they offer will create a happier, stronger, and more productive workforce and an improved company culture.

Some telling statistics — more than 50 percent of adults will experience mental health challenges in their lifetime, and 21 percent of adults experience mental illness annually. But less than 47 percent of adults with mental health challenges receive treatment.

Bringing the conversation closer to home work, according to a fall 2022 survey by UKG, managers at work affect our mental health more than therapists or doctors — and just as much as a spouse. Among survey participants, more than 80 percent would rather have good mental health than a high-paying job, and two-thirds would take a pay cut for a job that better supports their mental wellness. Tellingly, 70 percent of managers would take the same trade-off, and 40 percent of the C-suite says they will likely quit within the year because of work-related stress.

Providing Mental Health Support at Work

This is some pretty gripping news. But there are ways your organization can foster an environment that focuses on mental health and provides support for people in crisis:

Consider a Campaign

Remind employees about how they can use their benefits to improve their mental and emotional wellbeing. A communication campaign that highlights your benefits, programs, and resources about mental and emotional wellbeing — and engages leadership in the delivery of that messaging — can encourage your people to use those offerings.

Work with Managers

Create dedicated communications to managers to help them recognize mental health challenges in themselves and others — and to point them to relevant resources. 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.

Remember Family Members

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.

Eliminate Barriers to Resources

Your benefits, programs, and resources can’t be located behind firewalls with special VPN access or complicated login procedures. The information and resources must be easy for employees and their families to access.

Fight the Stigma

Not everyone is going to be comfortable with mental health discussions. Be open to feedback, show your team that you understand, and help them focus on how to best help themselves by promoting the available resources.

If you’re beginning to get the sense that work is affecting the mental health of one or more team members, get in touch with them and ask how you can help make their work lives a little smoother.

And as you craft your mental health communication strategy, keep these tips in mind. And, of course, if you want to learn more, we’d love to share more. Send us a note!

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