Exploring the future of mental health in the workplace
There has been a growing need for mental health support in recent years. More employees recognize that mental health is just as important as physical health, and they are taking steps to protect their mental well-being in the workplace. So much so that employers are now incorporating better mental health care benefits, enhancing or replacing employee assistance programs (EAPs), and are implementing inclusive organization practices to de-stigmatize mental health in the workplace.
Yet equitable mental health access remains a complex issue that requires multi-sectoral services and innovative interventions to address the many challenges that lay ahead . Thus, much of the future of mental health care depends on an organizations’ ability to apply a multifaceted approach to their mental health benefits programs that can fully support and protect the mental well-being of their workforce. In doing so, organizations can ensure they are doing their part to reduce stigma, and increase access to quality mental health care for all.
Modern technology and mobile devices have provided new options for mental health care providers and individuals seeking care. Research shows that 79% of non-managers and 81% of managers would be more likely to stay at a company that provides high-quality resources to allow them to care for their mental health. Digital mental health care is especially pivotal for the workplace in that it enables companies to provide fully paid or subsidized mental healthcare that offers employees continual access to mental health care services in the palm of their hands. Digital mental health services that can be implemented in the workplace include:
Employees are searching for structured support they can work into their lifestyle. Mental health education programs offer self-guided, structured programs on specific mental health topics that help members learn, practice, and build resilience. By using engaging, evidence-based, audio/video content and practice exercises presented by a therapist instructor, employees can master new mental health skills. For example, Modern Health offers course lessons based on research-backed techniques to provide access to members who prefer to explore on their own and those already working one-on-one with a provider. Courses are available anytime day or night and are served in short sections to maximize engagement. Each module incorporates lessons to learn, practice, and reflect on, to strengthen mental health skills useful for everyday life.
The idea of workplace well-being contributing to the health of employees isn't new. Yet, mental health is often neglected in the discussion, and the potential role of employers is overlooked. With new guidance, employers will find it easier to recognize resources that can be provided in the workplace and how health plans can evolve to include mental health care.
As mental health care awareness evolves, organizational leaders will be called upon to reshape working conditions to prioritize the mental health of employees in the workplace. These changes will likely span a variety of methods that include promoting a healthy work-life balance, reducing stigma, and providing mental health training for managers. Making mental health a normal part of workplace health and introducing access to mental health resources offers a way to create an inclusive environment that encourages employees to prioritize their mental health.
Creating new guidelines alone won't equate to changes in the workplace. Organizations will need to provide resources and time to develop new research and strategies to actively implement healthier workplace processes. Business leaders who invest in the mental health of their employees are more likely to see improved performance, production, and retention.
At its core, belonging cannot exist without psychological safety or feeling confident that questions, ideas, and self-expression won’t be judged negatively by a group. Research by Mind Share Partners shows that when employees feel supported in their mental health, they are 5.6 times more likely to trust the leaders of their company. There is a strong connection between having a sense of belonging and protecting individuals against the effects of self-stigma. This holds especially true for marginalized communities.
Culturally centered care is an approach to health care that takes into account the unique cultural and social needs of patients. It is based on the belief that culture plays a significant role in shaping our understanding of health and should be taken into consideration when providing care. This type of care combines awareness of culture, knowledge concerning cultural aspects, understanding of the difference between culture and pathology, and the integration of these concepts into service delivery. When providers are trained in practices of cultural humility, a greater understanding of different world views is incorporated to provide individualized care. As a result, a greater sense of belonging is achieved.
Digital solutions can offer therapeutic approaches and support positive behavioral change. With tailored care plans, digital mental health solutions can be integrated with care from medical management providers. These plans include recommended actions and activities based on individual needs, symptoms, and areas of focus. If members demonstrate a sustained escalation in risk levels, care plans can be adapted to recommend therapy.
Digital mental health solutions from Modern Health provide changes in care recommendations based on the member's current level of clinical need. With the inclusion of crisis resource access and follow-up, employers can integrate crisis management with EAP add-on services or provide access to regional crisis resource information to members without EAPs.
Group sessions provide various benefits that help individuals access mental health support through a different approach that may make them more comfortable. These small group settings can build community, and create opportunities for peer support that can help to de-stigmatize mental health related conversations. Additionally, specific groups can address the needs of individuals and create a sense of community among members with similar experiences. Community in mental health aligns with DEIB principles promoted by specific organizations and promotes a sense of belonging. Group- sessions with coaches or providers promotes the knowledge that mental health is not just about mental conditions but is something every employee has.
As our professional landscape continues to adapt and evolve, it is important that our access to mental health care does so as well. Our recent study revealed that among those who attended a group session for the first time, the group session was the first entry point to mental health for 50% of attendees. Other key learnings include how group sessions complement employee wellness initiatives and how multiple modalities of care can impact engagement and mental health care outcomes in the workplace.
79% of employees believe that with the routine prioritization of mental health they can successfully avoid severe mental health conditions or clinical level care. As measures are taken to emphasize mental health care, employers will be expected to join the conversation and take active measures to incorporate mental health care into their organizations.
The future of mental health care in the workplace depends on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and convenient accessibility from a variety of modules. By making mental health a priority in sectors like physical health and employment education, mental health care can be more easily recognized as a part of overall health.
Digital mental healthcare meets these demands and provides additional options for group and individual support. With support from employers, employees can have continual access to mental health care services tailored to meet their needs. Digital mental health care designed and provided by industry professionals can offer coaching, mental health education, and services that integrate with medical providers. Modern Health is at the forefront of these innovations with services designed to provide employers with the resources to meet the mental health needs of employees.
If you’d like to learn more about Modern Health and how we can support your diverse workforce, contact one of our experts today.
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