Mental Health Benefits are More Important Than Ever

focused african american office manager sitting at cafe table with laptop reading impo SBI 324310474 2Mental health needs attention as America’s workforce is exhibiting signs of stress and burnout.  American adults are anxious due to many factors.  The isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic, along with financial and economic uncertainty, has created an unprecedented mental health crisis in this country.  While Americans are feeling the ill effects, younger generations – such as Millennials and Gen Z – are particularly impacted.  Those groups are more likely to value mental health benefits at work compared to their older counterparts (Gen X and Baby Boomers), according to a recent survey from Securian Financial.

In the wake of the Great Resignation, employers should focus on the power of benefits to attract and retain talent.  As the pandemic wanes, employees are increasingly burned out, overworked, and dissatisfied with their jobs.  Stress at work is taking a toll on their mental health.  Another recent survey found that employees cite their job as the primary reason for their mental health challenges.  The Securian survey of 2,500 employees from across the country found that younger adults are disproportionately impacted.  As a result, 75% of Gen Zs and Millennials say they have used mental health benefits provided by their employer.  Surprisingly, less than half of Baby Boomers have taken advantage of the same benefits.

Financial wellness and mental health are also closely correlated, as identified within the Securian survey.  Twenty-six percent of those surveyed reported their financial wellness had an extreme impact on their mental health, and 18% said mental health had an extreme impact on their financial wellness.

Employers must not only deal with the once-taboo topics of mental health in the workplace; it is now essential for employers to understand employees’ mental health needs.  Employers can do a better job of boosting education and awareness around mental health benefits.  This is particularly the case when it comes to helping employees understand what mental health benefits are available to workers.  This can surface via Employee Assistance Programs or telehealth options, it is important that employees be made aware of how to access these benefits.  According to the Securian survey, about a quarter (24%) of employees don’t know enough about the mental health benefits provided or forget they’re available.

The majority of employees report receiving information from HR emails, their company intranet or benefits website, or emails from the benefits provider.  However, just 39% of employees say HR emails are effective forms of communication, 42% say the company intranet or benefits website is effective, and 39% report emails from the benefits provider are effective, according to Securian.  Finally, employees reported that additional benefits, such as paid time off (80%), flexible work arrangements (i.e., working from home vs. the office (42%) and being able to set their own hours (33%)), and gym memberships or discounts (38%) could help contribute to their overall mental wellness if their employer offered it.  Along with mental health benefits, offering supportive benefits like these can help employers recruit and retain talent while creating a more loyal, resilient workforce.


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