How Your Benefits Plan Can Help Employees with Mental Health

Did you know that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health issue or illness in any given year? The Canadian Mental Health Association also reports that almost 50% of those who have suffered from anxiety or depression have never gone to see a doctor about it. So, whether you notice it or not, there are likely people within your organization battling some form of mental illness. 

To support these employees, Canadian organizations are increasing spending on mental-health coverage. In fact, a recent Workplace Wellness Study by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that mental-health coverage has nearly doubled over the past five years. And in the next two years, 69% of organizations said they plan to increase their emphasis on mental-health offerings.

Below are a few other key highlights from the Workplace Wellness Study and some solutions that can help you ensure your employees have what they need to stay healthy, happy and productive

A majority of organizations offer mental-health coverage:

79% of employers currently offer mental-health coverage for their employees and 70% of these companies say it’s one of the costliest conditions to cover.  

Most organizations understand that offering more range of coverage such as for mental health leads to higher spending. That said, it’s important to remember that investments in wellness solutions always come full circle for the employer. 

According to a Benefits Canada article, organizations such as Canada Life, Dupont, Prudential Insurance and Citibank report positive ROI in the range of $2 to $6.85 savings for each $1 invested in employee wellness. That’s because early detection and prevention of illness helps to decrease costs for the employer, lowers absenteeism rates and enhances productivity levels. 

So how do you get the best bang for your buck? By choosing the right wellness solutions. But with so much out there, the decision can be overwhelming. 

At Benefit Deck, we have curated a comprehensive wellness program called Wellness OneSource, powered by LifeWorks. It combines the best health and wellness tools in an easily accessible online platform. This includes everything from interactive health risk assessments, recommended strategies to reduce risks, online health coaching, and even onsite health clinics.  

Learn more about Wellness OneSource here.

Stress is the number one issue affecting employee productivity:

76% of employers listed stress as the top issue affecting workplace productivity. 

Stress is a very personal matter. Some employees are more susceptible to stress than others and everyone handles stress in different ways. And while certain job functions create added stress and pressure, other factors contributing to employee stress levels can stem from family-related problems, financial struggles, socio-political concerns, or other personal issues. A company that focuses wellness efforts on helping employees better cope with stress can keep employees happier and healthier while lowering absenteeism and increasing retention. 

To do this, some companies get creative by offering meditation and mindfulness classes, flexible hours, quiet nap rooms, or on-site counseling services and more. The problem is that coordinating all these perks can become challenging for the human resource team who might already be managing a full plate of responsibilities. 

At BenefitDeck, we make it easier for employers to roll out fully packaged employee assistance programs. These services are designed to help employees address emotional problems and seek practical solutions to personal and professional issues before they start affecting job performance. The services include 24/7 access to expert counsellors, on-site support for critical situations and referrals to a network of readily available resources. 

Learn more about our Employee Assistance Program here.

Organizations’ efforts are only somewhat effective in reducing stress:

70% of organizations report that their efforts have been somewhat effective in reducing work-related stress, but only 2% reported ‘very effective’ results. 

Achieving ‘very effective’ results doesn’t automatically happen by putting a new plan or perk in place. Instead, it requires regular re-evaluation and fine-tuning. That means working with an experienced benefits consultant to make sure your benefits plan, as well as your mental-health initiatives, are accomplishing set objectives. At Benefit Deck, we do this by conducting annual reviews of your benefits plan, organizing employee surveys, and using data to propose improvements where necessary.  

Offering more flexible employee perks can also help companies achieve more effective results. For instance, setting up a health spending account gives employees the freedom to choose the services that best help them reduce stress. So, while some might prefer a gym membership and regular massages, others might enjoy a guided meditation program combined with acupuncture and aromatherapy sessions. The point is—whether you set up a health spending account with coverage of $100 or $1000, you allow employees to have full control over deciding which treatments are best for them.  

Read about more about our flexible benefits plans here.

An action plan focused on mental health:

Is your employee benefits plan adequately supporting mental health? If you’re not sure, our team at BenefitDeck can help. We can discuss your objectives, assess your current benefits plan and provide recommendations that will help you reduce workplace stress and keep your employees happier and healthier as your business evolves. Contact us any time. 

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