The employee benefits buzz for the past two years has been—say it with us—mental health. And it’s the buzz for good reason. Mental health issues are shown to have widespread impacts on the American workforce:
We’ve seen the growing consciousness of the need for mental health support, and you have too. In fact, many employers have stepped up. Nearly 80% of organizations currently offer workplace mental health resources or plan to within the next year.4 But even the most clearly deﬁned strategies and carefully curated beneﬁts won’t make a difference if they’re not widely known and used by employees when they need them.
The pieces won’t fall into place on their own
Of the nearly 53 million U.S. adults with a mental illness, only 46% have accessed mental health services.4 There could be numerous reasons for that — many stemming from lack of communication or understanding.
Fewer than 10% of employees feel their workplace is free of stigmas surrounding mental health, which makes them hesitant to ask for help.2 And despite the increase in mental health resources, only 43% of employees are aware that such help is available to them.5 In fact, more than a third (37%) of employees say they delayed treatment for a mental health concern because they didn't know if it was covered by their health insurance plan.3
Unlock greater use of your mental health benefits
An employee benefits strategy that includes mental health support is start. To help ensure employees know about that support — and take advantage of it — businesses can consider two critical steps.
1. Openly prioritize mental health.
Mental health and mental illness can be sensitive, intimidating topics for employees. When employers prioritize mental health as part of the company culture, it helps remove stigma, build trust and create opportunities for meaningful engagement. There are lots of ways—big and small—to incorporate mental health into company culture, including:6
2. Communicate (and then communicate a lot more).
Communicating regularly and in a variety of ways is a must for getting employees’ attention around mental health and available support. Examples include:
Participation leads to better outcomes—which is better for, well, everyone
When employees take advantage of mental health support, the impacts are far-reaching:
Significant time and effort go into developing employee benefits strategies that support both business objectives and employee health, well-being and productivity. When decisions are being made about the role mental health benefits can play in these strategies, don’t forget the keys that can help unlock greater utilization and better outcomes.
Aflac’s continued commitment to the ever-evolving emphasis on mental health
Mental health is on a spectrum, so your coverage should be too. Aflac is fully committed to being a part of the care you show employees while also tending to the well-being of your business. We look closely at our offerings to identify gaps and find places where we can fine-tune benefits—or add new ones—to help close them.
Ask your Aflac benefits representative about products and services that can support mental health and help enhance your clients' benefits strategies.
1 Forbes. "CEO required reading: 2023 workplace mental health resolutions." Jan. 19, 2023. Accessed 4.14.23.
2 National Council for Mental Illness. Mental Health First Aid. "How employers can create a healthier workforce in 2023." Feb. 23, 2023. Accessed 4.13.23.
3 Aflac. "Aflac Workforces Report: Workplace Benefits Trends employee well-being and mental health." Published Nov. 2023. Accessed 4.11.23.
4 SHRM Foundation. Otsuka. "Mental health in America - a 2022 workplace report." Accessed 4.13.23.
5 Employee Benefit News. Mental health benefits. "How to support employees who are struggling with their mental health." Nov. 17, 2022. Accessed 4.13.23.
6 LinkedIn. "Key ways to meaningfully support mental health in the workplace." Jan. 26, 2023. Accessed 4.14.23.
7 Calm Business. "2023 workplace mental health trends report: the future of work." Accessed 4.12.23.
Content within this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting or medical advice regarding any specific situation. Aflac cannot anticipate all the facts that a particular employer will have to consider in their benefits decision-making process.
Individual coverage is underwritten by Aflac. Group coverage is underwritten by Continental American Insurance Company (CAIC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aflac Incorporated. CAIC is not licensed to solicit business in New York, Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands. For groups sitused in California, group coverage is underwritten by Continental American Life Insurance Company. For individual coverage in New York or coverage for groups sitused in New York, coverage is underwritten by Aflac New York.
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