Initial Employer Steps to Promote the Use of Mental Health Resources
By Jenny Haykin, MA, CRC
Integrated Leaves and Accommodations Program Manager
Puget Sound Energy
While many companies offer a myriad of mental health benefits, employees often are uncomfortable seeking them out and have trouble finding them.
At the DMEC Online Summit Event on Jan. 29, 2020, 55% of the 92 respondents polled indicated that employees at their company would not find all the mental health benefits listed in one place. Employers can address these issues by taking the first step of providing coordinated communications that show all mental health benefits together. To address these issues further, employers can then seek to increase employee knowledge of and comfort with accessing those benefits.
Mental health benefits range from those designed to help keep employees healthy to ones that treat mental illness. Resilience, mindfulness, diet, exercise, and financial fitness education may be accessible through employee assistance programs (EAP) and wellness programming to help employees stay well. Counseling and accommodations can aid employees experiencing difficulties, and psychiatric care and leave can be made available when mental illness treatment is needed.
Documenting all these offerings in one place can create a one-stop shop for employees that simplifies the effort to identify desired or needed benefits. An employee webpage, coupled with a flyer provided to new employees, at benefit fairs, and during benefits trainings, can provide the information while at the same time give the implied message that the benefits are there to be used. When mental health benefits information is hard for employees to find, it inadvertently sends a message that their use is not encouraged.
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