The demand for and focus on employees’ mental health and well-being has increased significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to address the growing need of mental health support for workforces across the country, companies have continued to roll out wellness-specific programs and benefits to better service their employee population.
One option that employers are exploring to expand access to care and promote well-being is digital mental health tools. There are a range of different approaches to digital mental healthcare, including; smart phone applications, remote video or phone therapy sessions, and audio and written content educating employees on how to boost their mental health.
Before deciding on what tools and resources best accommodate your employees’ needs, take some time to develop a digital mental health strategy that meshes with and enhances the other mental health benefits you may offer.
- Set Goals — Educating employees about personal well-being and destigmatizing the conversation around mental health is invaluable. When it comes to establishing goals, encouraging an environment where employees can reach out and feel comfortable doing so is essential. This way, goals are catered towards your workforce, and you can address specific issues that employees have raised around stress and mental well-being.
- Accessibility — When choosing the appropriate tools, keep in mind the needs of your diverse employee population. Not all tools are created equal. Therefore, consider tools that can be accessed in multiple languages, are accessible to individuals with specific disabilities, can be utilized at anytime of day to accommodate employees in different time zones or countries, and are compatible with the technology and resources your employees currently have access to.
- Available Resources — Deciding exactly which digital apps to use can be particularly challenging. The American Psychiatric Association created a website that provides in-depth information about hundreds of apps. Criteria considered in the evaluation includes whether each app has evidence-based studies that support it, how and if it protects user privacy data, whether the mental health providers on the platform are licensed, and how the app handles users in crisis.
- Employee Engagement — The best digital strategy in the world will not be effective if your employees do not understand and use the tools and resources you provide. Your strategy should include an ongoing plan to educate employees and family members about your mental health offerings, as well as regular reminders regarding the availability of tools and how employees can easily access them.
- Measurable Success — Having the means in place to successfully measure the effectiveness of your benefit offerings can be a great advantage to your organization. For example, measuring employee’ productivity and engagement during routine workdays, analyzing healthcare costs, and quantifying employee feedback are all ways you can enhance mental health benefits for your workforce.
As more individuals are opening up about their mental health and working to reduce the stigma around it, the demand for benefits in this area will continue to grow. It is crucial for employers to do their best in understanding and accommodating the benefit needs of their employees to keep their organization engaged, safe and healthy.
Information provided by Employee Benefit News.