Low-Cost Mental Health Strategies That Get Big Results for Company Revenue and Employee Happiness

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The global pandemic has spawned astronomical increases in anxiety and depression that entrepreneurs cannot ignore. Now is the time for businesses to invest in mental health and wellbeing services and resources to continue to thrive.

According to a CDC report, mental health issues, substance use and suicidal ideation have all increased since the onset of COVID-19, 31% reported having symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, 26% struggle with a trauma, 13% started or increased the use of chemicals and 11% seriously considered suicide.

Speak Wellable 2021 Employee Wellness Industry Trend Report: 88% of companies surveyed planned to invest in general mental health resources, followed closely by telemedicine (87%), stress management (81%) and mindfulness (69%).

Proactively investing in resources that address these concerns can reduce long-term costs, with a return on investment of $4 for every dollar invested in mental health treatment.

Add more time off to your benefits package

While fever or physical ailments justify sick days, mental health days give employees time to get away from the natural pressures and frustrations of work and personal life. This extra break can have lasting benefits for a worker’s morale and can improve health, prevent burnout and increase productivity.

Indeed, a recent study of 2,000 Americans, conducted by Theraflu, found that 58% of respondents avoided missing work for fear of being reprimanded by their employer.

For members of remote teams, the separation between work and personal life has become thinner, employees are also working longer hours and taking fewer vacation days. Your in-person staff may also work harder to hide any anxiety, not wanting to be seen as unable to handle the pressure.

Related: 20 secrets to living a happier life

Make employee assistance programs more accessible

EAPs are workplace intervention programs created and designed to help employees overcome personal issues that could negatively impact their ability to perform their jobs. These problems can be marital, financial, emotional, family or substance abuse related.

EAPs are a popular option for workers because of their potential to reduce direct costs associated with mental health treatment. On average, EAPs cost between $12 and $40 per employee, which is less than 1% of the average cost of health insurance per person.

If your company isn’t large enough to provide an EAP, another option is to provide referrals and lists of resources that employees can easily access.

Related: 4 Ways to Steer Your Organization Through the Omicron Surge

lead by example

Simply offering the solutions and the resources is not enough. You will want to encourage and even entice employees to take advantage of it. Your own recognition of the importance of taking care of mental health will assure workers that they have the right to do the same.

If you center your company culture around taking care of those behind the company, they will be more encouraged to take care of themselves. They will live a healthier and happier life, which will have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Related: Why mental health is central to your business continuity plan

The study asked 2,000 American employees about the stress of missing work and found that 58% avoid calling for fear of being reprimanded by their employer.

As the COVID-19 pandemic causes Americans to take their health more seriously than ever, half of those surveyed feel discouraged by their workplace to call in for care when they feel unwell.

This stress is felt even more by black and Latina women surveyed, who are 10% more likely than white women to say they avoid sick days for fear of being reprimanded.

Produced by OnePoll on behalf of Theraflu, the survey found that 55% of respondents are required to give their managers a reason to call, with 66% feeling their bosses never believe that reason.

As a result, respondents went to work in bad weather an average of three times in the past year. Almost three in five respondents (58%) said they even force themselves to clock in unless their symptoms were so bad they couldn’t get out of bed.

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