In 2020, we focused on our physical health by protecting ourselves and others from the spread of COVID-19. In doing so, we have also realized the importance of simultaneously prioritizing our mental health and well-being.
Prior to the pandemic, 5% of employees reported they experienced impaired mental health. Now, 18% of employees struggle with mental health issues. According to a study by Businessolver, 68% of employees worry that reaching out to their employer about a mental health issue could negatively impact their job security.
To develop a supportive and successful workforce, employees can encourage their organization leaders and HR professionals to increase the comfort and opportunity around mental health conversations. Discussing with your employer what plans and trends will benefit the employee population during these unprecedented times is crucial to the success and well-being of an organization.
Outlined below are five mental health trends that employers are considering for 2021.
- Employee Assistant Programs — An EAP can be tailored to a workforce to provide critical employee resources that incorporates behavioral health counseling, mental health resources, relationship and life guidance, or therapist appointments.
- Telehealth Coverage — The need for virtual mental health counseling and resources is top of mind for employees. Since the pandemic, nearly half of employers have expanded their benefit packages to include telemedicine and accommodate employee needs.
- Online Mental Health Support Resources — Seeking additional online support can address provider shortages and reduce the stigma of reaching out for mental health resources. Consider all options like virtual mental health and emotional well-being services — such as wellness apps, videos, and articles.
- Caregiving Support — The need for childcare and homeschooling resources has spiked due to the pandemic. Balancing work and caregiving responsibilities can be even more challenging, which can disrupt one’s mental health and contribute to increased levels of stress. Speak with your employer about options that may be available to you such as paid leave for caregiving, medical leave, paid time off, flexible scheduling, and leave-sharing programs.
- Flexible Scheduling — Reaching out to colleagues and understanding the needs of the workforce can help steer conversations with your employer when it comes to a more flexible schedule. Expanding and partaking in a more flexible workplace may help reduce the number of personal leave requests. A flexible schedule can also drastically help working parents who must act as stay-at-home teachers or day care instructors.
As we continue to face the major crisis the outbreak has caused, building resiliency and inquiring about available mental resources should be top of mind for employees. Talk to your employer today regarding new benefits that may be offered this year to accommodate your changing work and home environments.
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