Unfortunately, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are more common across people of all ages. Furthermore, with the stresses created by the pandemic, mental health treatment has become increasingly critical. Poor mental health can create problems like addiction and other issues.
It falls on employers to offer more mental health benefits to their employees, particularly if they want to increase their retention rates. What are a few of the top mental health benefits your company should be offering?
1. More Time Off
One of the most important steps companies need to take is to offer more time off. Some employees might be willing to take slightly less pay in exchange for this perk. This doesn't necessarily mean that companies need to offer more vacation days. Sometimes, employees were just like a break from the office.
For example, companies should consider offering employees flex days. These aren't the same as vacation days, but could be used for something else. Companies might want to give employees flex days they can use for counseling sessions. Or, companies might want to offer days that employees can use for a volunteer experience. Encouraging employees to give back to their communities could be a way to improve the mental health of your employees.
2. Health Insurance That Covers Mental Health Treatment
Companies also need to take steps to offer health insurance that covers mental health treatment. In the past, very few health insurance plans offered mental health benefits. Now, it is easier for companies to locate health insurance plans for their employees in another mental health benefits area. If companies take steps to offer health insurance that covers mental health, they demonstrate a commitment to the health and well-being of their employees.
Health insurance plans should cover a wide variety of mental health treatment options. Some people might require one-on-one outpatient therapy for depression, anxiety, or substance use disorders. Other individuals might need inpatient therapy, which can be expensive without health insurance. Companies should identify health insurance plans that cover these treatment options.
3. Access To Free Counseling
Companies should also consider offering free counseling sessions. There are plenty of industries where this is already the standard. For example, industries where employees might be exposed to death, such as medicine, often come with a certain number of free counseling sessions per year. But this benefit should be expanded to every field.
There are plenty of ways that businesses can set this up. Companies should consider partnering with mental health providers in the community, offering to cover the cost of bringing these providers to the company's campus following a difficult event. Or, companies might want to extend an invitation to cover the cost of a counseling session following a death in the family. Of course, businesses should also remind their employees of emergency help hotlines.
4. Free Mental Health Apps
Consider offering your employees access to free mental health apps. A lot of attention has been paid to making mental health benefits more accessible. One of the ways you can improve access to mental health benefits is to offer free apps to your employees. Maybe there are free apps you can install on company devices. Perhaps you can negotiate a company-wide subscription to premium apps that your employees can use.
For example, you might want to check out Calm for Business. Many of these apps encourage mindfulness meditation that can help your employees relax, improve stress management, and stave off the development of serious mental health issues. They might even make your employees more productive. Consider offering your employees access to these mental health apps.
5. Pet Therapy at Work
Finally, businesses should also consider offering pet therapy at work. Anyone who has been to a children's hospital has likely seen animals wandering around. There are dogs and cats that are well-trained to interact safely with people of all ages, including children. Of course, businesses need to be aware of allergy risks, but pet therapy can go a long way toward improving the mental health of everyone.
There is just something about petting something soft, friendly, and happy that lifts your spirits. Research has even shown that pet therapy can do wonders for people's mental health. Therapy animals have to go through rigorous training to make sure they understand how to behave in a professional setting. You might be concerned that pets may distract your employees from their duties. Consider only bringing in pets during lunch hours. Or confine them to common areas. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate pet therapy in your workplace.
Mental Health Benefits Are Critical for All Companies
These are just a few of the many mental health benefits that companies offer. When companies demonstrate that they care about the mental health of their employees, they increase the morale of their workforces, leading to increased productivity. Companies should collect feedback from their employees so they can customize their benefits to meet the needs of the company. That way, they can see what is working, what is not, and what needs to be changed.
Remember that focusing on the mental health of your employees can lead to success for you as a CEO as well. When your employees are happier and more productive, they become more independent and self-sufficient. This means that you do not have to do nearly as much work. Your company will have an easier time meeting its objectives, leading to more revenue growth, happier shareholders, and greater market share.
PubMed.gov - Depression and Anxiety Trends Among Adults
PubMed.gov - Volunteering and Health Benefits in General Adults
SunshineBehavioralHealth.com - 12 Step Rehab
SAMHSA.gov - SAMHSA National Hotline
PubMed.gov - Paws for Thought