If you’re a regular reader of our blogs, you know that promoting mental health resources has been a top priority for our clients for the past several years. According to a Segal analysis, it was the biggest theme in employee benefits in 2022. Additionally, my colleague Diane Swisher’s blog about rethinking mental health was our most-viewed blog last year.
Yet, recent research suggests that, despite attention on this topic, workers’ mental health continues to decline, with inflation and economic uncertainty contributing to already elevated feelings of stress lingering from the pandemic.
Data compiled by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) indicates that mental health challenges are common, which underscores just how important it is to raise awareness for—and destigmatize—seeking care. According to NAMI’s fast facts:
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
- 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year.
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6 to 17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 14.
All of this points to why promoting the programs you offer and showing your support for mental health is critical—during Mental Health Awareness Month and throughout the year. One of the reasons we partnered with CredibleMind, which offers evidence-based resources designed to complement and increase usage of your EAP and other mental health benefits, is the wealth of resources they provide. This includes scientifically backed support across hundreds of topics and self-assessments that help people better understand their own strengths and weaknesses.
Plus, the sheer volume of behavioral health solutions has exploded in recent years. To help you stay on top of the ever-evolving marketplace of vendors, we’ve developed a five-point framework for evaluating vendors in a systematic way. In this article, my colleagues Sarah Gunderson, RN, Lisa Bertola, and I highlight the key considerations for reviewing vendors, including:
- Using claims data to assess needs
- Determining organizational readiness
- Outlining factors that can help you identify high-quality vendors
- Educating participants and raising organizational awareness to increase usage
- Monitoring and measuring results
We also identified 10 typical questions that participants may ask (not necessarily aloud) before engaging in a behavioral health benefit. Thinking through the participant experience, including their worries, questions, concerns, or potential barriers to engagement, can help illuminate key messages you’ll want to convey.
As you plan your communications and outreach to highlight mental health resources, don’t forget to touch base with your vendor partners to leverage the webinars and educational materials they offer. There are also free resources, including a field guide from NAMI and a toolkit from Mental Health America, with suggestions for social media posts, downloadable graphics, posters, handouts, and more.
We hope that these suggestions spark ideas for the benefits you offer and the communications you share to promote those benefits. Having the right resources in place can help your organization realize its mission and live its values by supporting your people and their families. And effective communications will encourage your people to access resources that will help them prevent, manage, and recover from the conditions and challenges they face.
We’re proud to work with organizations that value their people. If you want to learn more, we’d love to talk.