4 Low-Cost Ways Employers Can Increase Access to Mental Health Services

June 15, 2022

Our country is facing a mental health crisis.

Approximately 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness today. Despite this crisis, millions of people are struggling to get the care they need. In 2020, over 17 million people experienced delays or cancellations in appointments, and almost 5 million were unable to access needed care. These issues are not limited to adults, as multiple leading pediatric healthcare experts recently declared the mental health crisis among children a national emergency.

When someone’s mental health is neglected, it impacts nearly every aspect of their life – even at work. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental illness is associated with higher rates of disability and unemployment. These mental health issues can negatively impact an employee’s job performance, productivity, engagement, and communication with coworkers.

Employers can play a critical role in facilitating care. There are several low-cost, high-impact steps employers can take today that will significantly increase their workforce’s ability to access the care they need. Here are our top four recommendations:

  1. Provide free access to virtual mental health tools: Meditation apps, text and virtual talk therapy, and stress management tools allow employees to access mental health help anywhere, anytime. This enables employees to receive care on their own schedule.
  2. Train managers to spot the signs of mental health issues: Early detection of mental health issues is key. Teaching managers to recognize mental illness in the workplace and appropriately direct employees to resources can help employees get on the right track to treatment.
  3. Reform Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Many EAPs today limit the number of counseling sessions an employee can receive. Reforming these programs to include more sessions and additional mental health resources can make treatment more accessible and affordable.
  4. Constantly communicate: Employers must also do their part to reduce the mental health stigma by constantly reinforcing the importance of treatment. Regularly reminding employees of the resources available to them can also spark action.

By improving access to care, companies can improve employee happiness, increase productivity, decrease turnover, and promote greater overall wellness among their workforce. These low-cost steps can be taken today and immediately provide assistance to employees in need.

Our team of experts at Conner Strong & Buckelew can help you get started. Contact us today to find out how.


Employee Benefits

Practice Leader

Joseph M. DiBella

Executive Partner, National Employee Benefits Practice Leader

More than 27 years of employee benefits experience

Previously led national and large account business for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey