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More Companies See Value In Mental Health Benefits

May 30th, 2019

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This is the time of year employers are beginning to hear from their benefits brokers about insurance plans for next year. The tendency is for those conversations to focus around costs. Plan improvements take a backseat to keeping expenses down. This year though, more companies than ever will be taking a close look at how well their plans provide for mental health coverage.

As Mental Health Awareness month comes to a close, Benefits Pro tells us, "In the last few years, there has been a positive move towards acknowledging the need for more mental health support in the workplace. It’s now considered the next frontier for organizations to incorporate into their benefits programs as it relates to the significant life events that we all experience during our careers."

The American Heart Association's CEO Roundtable calls mental health "A workforce crisis." In a report the Roundtable commissioned, the cost to employers of a single worker with a major depressive disorder averaged $4,426 and 27 lost work days. Depression in all its forms costs employers an estimated $210.5 billion annually. But for every dollar spent treating it, employers could save $2.30 to $2.60.

The World Health Organization calculates that "for every $1 put into scaled up treatment for common mental disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity."

It's not just providing improved mental health coverage. Employers should also create a healthier environment, says Benefits Pro. "Building a positive and open culture around mental health so employees feel comfortable to speak out and address concerns must be a priority... Leadership have a massive role to play in promoting mental health, from large to small initiatives, such as taking time away from your desk to recharge, setting work-life boundaries or using techniques like mindfulness and breathing exercises."

The article concludes urging, "Organizations should and can meet their employees’ needs by recognizing that mental health is a priority and ensuring that wide-ranging support is built into their benefits plans as standard."

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