Accountable Healthcare - As the Pandemic Lifts, You May Be Tempted to Pull Back on Mental Health Care Benefits. Don’t.
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August 12, 2022

As the Pandemic Lifts, You May Be Tempted to Pull Back on Mental Health Care Benefits. Don’t.

Here are three cost-effective ways to support employees' mental wellness at work.

Some employers are starting to reel back mental health resources despite still heightened interest and need. But that's the exact opposite way to go--particularly amid an ongoing labor crunch.

Seventy-one percent of workers say that their company ramped up efforts to focus on mental health as a result of the pandemic, but just a quarter say that focus remains, according to new research from the Los Angeles-based Headspace Health, a digital mental health platform.

The research, comprising two separate studies conducted among 5,400 employees and more than 500 CEOs, suggests a disconnect between workers and the C-suite. Eighty percent of CEOs say that their company enhanced their focus on mental health, with 41 percent of executives claiming that focus remains tight.

Regardless of the management-employee dissonance, investing in mental health is a no-brainer in the sense that employees want it and it can benefit a company's bottom line. Separate research out this week from financial services firm the Hartford shows that 71 percent of employers believe that declining mental health among their workforce is creating a negative financial impact on the company.

Here are three ways employers can help support an employee's mental health:

1. Train managers on what to look out for

Increased stress tied to burnout, work-life balance, and managerial problems are creeping up, according to Désirée Pascual, the chief people experience officer at Headspace Health. Properly training managers and making sure leaders in the workforce know what to look out for is key. No one's immune to burnout, but it can go unrecognized. Some attributes to keep an eye out for are: exhaustion, disassociation from the job, and a lack of motivation.

2. Prioritize mental health support in retention strategies

As the Great Resignation churns on, employers are under increased pressure to create competitive compensation packages and beef up their benefits. As mental health services lose their stigma and grow in popularity among younger generations, incorporating mental health perks--from meditation exercises to employee support systems--is a way for an organization to highlight its priorities. 

3. Practice what you preach

According to the Headspace study, 82 percent of respondents revealed that they'd like their employer to check in with them to see how they're doing and genuinely care about their response. Pascual says that reducing stigma goes a long way and recommends leaders create open dialogues and communicate that it's OK to not be OK (and that it's also all right to discuss these feelings.) Compassionate leadership that's mindful of the needs of its workforce will foster an environment that workers will want to stay in.

Article by: Melissa Angell at