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Bridging the Gap: Enhancing Employee Well-Being at the Intersection of Physical and Mental Health

Aon’s VP of Health Transformation, Elisha Engelen, shares the best ways to integrate physical and mental well-being into your employee benefits strategy. Get key insights from our most recent Consultant Leadership Series session, with strategies to create a more holistic employee benefits program.

Most people understand the importance of maintaining physical health. From training to doctor’s visits to eating well, many go to great lengths to take care of their bodies because of the proven benefits. However, prioritizing mental health is just as crucial for overall health and goes hand in hand with physical health.

During our most recent Consultant Leadership Series session, Aon’s Vice President of Health Transformation, Elisha Engelen, joined Modern Health’s Senior Partner Manager, Travis Metivier, to discuss the crucial intersection of physical and mental well-being in the workplace. For HR benefits leaders, understanding and addressing the interplay between different areas of health can significantly improve employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity. 

The Relationship Between Physical and Mental Health

Engelen emphasized that physical and mental health are deeply interconnected and most effectively addressed together. Employees facing physical health issues often experience mental health challenges and vice versa. Recognizing this relationship will help you develop a comprehensive benefits program. Here are key insights from the discussion and steps you can take to integrate physical and mental well-being into your employee benefits strategy:

  1. Physical and mental health have a mutual influence:
    • Physical health issues, such as chronic pain or illness, can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
    • Mental health challenges can manifest physically, resulting in symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or weakened immune response.
  2. It’s best to integrate your health programs:
    • Integrated health programs that address physical and mental health needs are more effective in promoting overall well-being.
    • Combining physical health initiatives with mental health support creates a more holistic approach to employee wellness.
  3. Focus on preventive care and early intervention:
    • Engelen highlighted the importance of preventive care and early intervention in both physical and mental health.
    • Proactive measures can reduce long-term health care costs and improve quality of life by preventing minor issues from becoming severe. 

Actionable Strategies for HR Benefits Leaders

Use these strategies to integrate physical and mental well-being into your employee benefits program:

  1. Promote a culture of holistic health:
    • Foster a workplace culture that values and promotes all aspects of wellness.
    • Encourage open dialogue around health issues and provide resources that support overall well-being.
  2. Offer comprehensive wellness programs:
    • Develop wellness programs that include fitness challenges, health screenings, and nutrition workshops alongside mental health resources like counseling and stress management seminars.
    • Provide participation incentives to encourage employees to engage with these programs.
  3. Use digital health tools:
    • Use digital health platforms that offer physical and mental health solutions.
    • Apps that track physical activity, provide mental health resources, and offer telehealth services can help employees manage their health in innovative new ways.
  4. Provide access to preventive care:
    • Ensure your benefits package includes coverage for preventive care services such as annual physical exams, vaccinations, and mental health screenings.
    • Encourage employees to take advantage of these services through regular reminders and educational campaigns.
  5. Train managers on health awareness:
    • Train managers to recognize signs of physical and mental health distress and to respond supportively.
    • Equip managers with resources and guidelines to help them direct employees to appropriate health services.

Consultant Leadership Series: Aon discusses psychologically safe workplaces and the role of managers

Take Action

Integrating physical and mental well-being into your employee benefits program is essential in today’s workplace. By addressing both aspects of health, you can create a more resilient, engaged, and productive workforce.

Elevate your employee well-being strategy by partnering with Modern Health. Schedule a demo with Modern Health today and discover how you can transform your benefits program.