How to Select the Right Mental Health Benefits For Global Teams

According to the WHO, depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy an estimated $1 trillion each year in lost productivity. This indicates that the success of an organization may depend on how well they support the mental health of their employees. Yet although most employers recognize the need for an investment in mental health benefits, it can often be difficult to find the right solution that supports a diverse workforce. To help employers and benefits leaders develop a competitive benefits package for employees, below are five key benefit offerings to consider when selecting a mental health solution.

1. Care Beyond Traditional Therapy 

When it comes to mental health, every individual has unique preferences and needs for receiving care. Many traditional health benefit plans or employer assistance programs (EAPs) only offer one modality of care such as through one-on-one therapy. Yet Modern Health research has found that fewer than 44% of employees prefer one-on-one as their preferred mode of care

To gauge the quality of a mental health solution, consider the number of modalities of care they offer to employees. A robust mental health benefit should offer support beyond traditional therapy such self-guided care, or group sessions. Offering a range of support gives employees the autonomy to personalize their care in a way that best works for them.

2. Full Spectrum Coverage

Every employee should have access to mental health care that best fits their needs. Some individuals may have higher acuity needs that may require medication management and in-person therapy, but others may have lower acuity needs that are best supported by self-paced programs or coaching. Another individual might have moderate needs and require a blend of care modalities. This is the full spectrum of mental wellbeing and one size does not fit all.

Consider whether the mental health solution you're considering offers evidence-based care for a wide range of mental health needs from low-to-high acuity. Not is not only better for employees, it also helps companies save money when therapy and medication support aren’t a necessary intervention. According to a 2021 clinical research study by Modern Health, leveraging coaching when appropriate can yield similar results to therapy at ⅓ of the cost. 

3. Mental Health & Workplace Culture

Discussions around mental health have often carried a sense of stigma in organizations. Yet as global workforce mental health becomes a bigger priority for employers, it's important select a mental health solution that can help create a culture of wellbeing in the workplace. Assess whether the mental health solution in consideration offers resources to engage employees in a remote work environment, whether they offer support to facilitate activities and conversations that de-stigmatize mental health, nurture a sense of safety, and belonging at work. According to Modern Health’s new Modern Belonging Playbook, belonging is not only a psychological need but a connection that empowers employees to show up authentically in the workplace, resulting in greater engagement, creativity, and productivity.

4. Global Provider Network

With an increasingly distributed workforce, it’s important that a mental health benefit solution support the needs of a culturally diverse workforce. Consider whether a mental health solution can support a global team and offer care in their preferred language, local time zones, or cultural background. Ensuring that your mental health solution support employees regardless of where they are located may help expand your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and help boost employee benefit utilization.

Additionally, consider whether the mental health solution you're considering has protocols in place to partner with licensed therapists who use evidence-based practices or coaches who are fully certified. Ask for the average wait-time for an employee to match with a provider, and whether the mental health solution offers ongoing training to ensure their providers are practicing the most up-to-date mental health care practices.

5. Return On Investment

Offering benefits that employees don’t use is expensive. With the average engagement of employer assistance programs (EAPs) at 5.5%, that means that only a fraction of the workforce is actually improving their mental health. This is why it's imperative to select a mental health solution that provides resources to drive engagement. As a benchmark, mental health solutions like Modern Health can achieve average engagement rates as high as 20% for organizations.

If you'd like additional support to select the right mental health solution, download the The Ultimate Buyer's Guide to Mental Health Benefits below to save time and get the information you need develop a competitive mental health benefits package for your global workforce. 

Cynthia Castro Sweet, PhD

Dr. Cynthia Castro Sweet is the senior director of clinical research at Modern Health.

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