Creating a workplace post-COVID with strong preventative mental health services adds major benefits long and short term to your company.
Supportive, safe, productive, and inclusive workplaces are essential as we transition from fully remote work to re-opening our offices and taking on a new normal of changed worked schedules and priorities.
Balancing work life and home life has never been an easy task. As remote work and virtual school took over, more and more employees found it increasingly challenging to juggle everything. In fact, some had to make the difficult decision to leave their careers altogether to ensure the family’s needs were cared for. All of this adds up to lost dreams, uncertainty, and a strain on emotional wellbeing.
According to a recent poll by Gallup, 76% of U.S. adults rate their mental health positively, a nine-point drop from 2019. In the middle of the pandemic, U.S. life satisfaction dropped significantly, matching the same lows experienced during the Great Recession.
COVID-19 has increased the presence of behavioral health conditions by as much as 50% and prescriptions for antianxiety meds increased by 34% in just the first few months of the pandemic. The statistics are staggering, and the numbers are in; COVID-19 exasperated preexisting mental health issues and brought others to light. (https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/mental-health-in-the-workplace-the-coming-revolution)
Emotional anxiety is at an all time high as daily stresses, the struggles of work life balance, changes in U.S. culture, and financial pressures continue to wear on individuals.
What’s next for the workforce
Programs that help support employee health and wellbeing are vital as we move toward a post-pandemic future.
As remote workers and those who had to take a pandemic pause return to the workplace, it’s important to hold onto the lessons we’ve learned while away.
The pandemic shed light on a problem that has been there all along. There is a lack of preventative mental health resources for the U.S. worker. If there were a greater emphasis in the workplace for mental health, then the stigma surrounding it would be gone and employees would have the tools necessary to be more resilient and productive in good times and in crisis.
Providing mental health services as essential rather than simply a “nice benefit” goes a long way toward improving your company’s culture. It is essential in communicating that you value the individuals doing the work.
Benefits of preventative mental health services
#1 Lower long term healthcare costs
Companies are starting to take notice of the benefits of preventive mental health care versus the cost.
When an employees’ mental health is not prioritized, it costs the company more in healthcare coverage. Healthcare costs decrease when employers invest in mental health interventions. Simply put, it costs less to prevent than to treat.
Workplace stressors have been shown to be as harmful as secondhand smoke, something we as a nation have done something about.
By learning to address the day-to-day stressors at work and prioritize preventive mental health services the U.S. could save up to $180 billion and 120,000 lives annually. Employers have the power to actively contribute to better health outcomes and costs in our country (https://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/10.1287/mnsc.2014.2115).
#2 Increase company retention and loyalty
Trust is essential in any work relationship. Knowing that an employer cares for one’s physical and mental well being goes a long way in creating a safe space for employees.
Negative company culture often results in poor mental health. Which in turn leads to higher and costly turnover rates.
Preventive mental health care that is encouraged and modeled by management can boost the community. It shows that every individual is valued as a human being and more than just the product they produce.
#3 More productivity
Interestingly, when a person is valued for who they are and not what they do, they actually become more productive.
Behavioral health issues lead to employee absenteeism which means others have to pull the slack or everyone is playing catch up. The business as a whole runs smoother when everyone is working together, united, and healthy.
#4 Better health
A person’s mental health directly impacts their physical health. Unhealthy habits are picked up for quick fixes, such as emotional eating or excessive drinking. According to WebMD, poor mental health can lead to chronic diseases, sleep problems, and chain smoking.
#5 Less regret
Many of us have been in that moment where we’ve said, “if only I had known.”
We’ve lost friends and family to suicide ideation, addiction, and other tragedies that our hearts cry “if only.”
The more we learn, the clearer it becomes that prevention is possible long before tragedy strikes. While we can’t go back and change the past, we can no longer ignore the problem when the solution is in our hands.
Discover why YubiHealth is the solution for better and preventative mental health prevention in your workplace.