Oct 18, 2023

The Imperative of Mental Health Benefits in Today's Workplace

World Mental Health Day is recognized in October, and more and more employers are taking note. In an ever-evolving professional landscape, the Wellbeing of employees has become a focal point for forward-thinking organizations.

As the understanding of mental health continues to expand, it has become increasingly clear that supporting employees' mental Wellbeing is not just a compassionate endeavor but also a strategic one. Insurope, THE Premier Multinational Pooling Network for employee benefits, recently addressed this topic with Network Members across the globe, and we see the strong trend toward offering more mental health and wellbeing solutions continuing. Here’s why:

Addressing a Growing Crisis

The global mental health crisis is an undeniable reality. Factors such as societal pressures, technological advancements, and the fast-paced nature of the modern workplace have contributed to an increase in stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. By offering mental health benefits, employers acknowledge and take responsibility for their employees' overall Wellbeing.

Enhancing Employee Productivity and Performance

A healthy mind is a productive mind. Studies consistently show that employees who receive adequate mental health support are more engaged, focused, and effective in their roles. When employees feel supported in managing their mental health, they are better equipped to handle workplace challenges and contribute positively to the organization.

Reducing Absenteeism and Presenteeism

Mental health issues often lead to absenteeism (employees being absent from work) and presenteeism (employees being present at work but not fully productive due to mental health concerns). These issues can have a significant impact on an organization's bottom line. Offering mental health benefits helps reduce absenteeism and presenteeism, ultimately leading to a more efficient and productive workforce.

Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

In a competitive job market, offering comprehensive mental health benefits can be a powerful tool for attracting and retaining top talent. Prospective employees are increasingly prioritizing workplaces that prioritize their Wellbeing. By providing robust mental health support, employers demonstrate their commitment to creating a healthy and supportive work environment.

Fostering a Positive Work Culture

A workplace that prioritizes mental health creates a culture of empathy, compassion, and understanding. This, in turn, leads to increased morale and a sense of belonging among employees. When individuals feel valued and supported, they are more likely to contribute positively to the organization and collaborate effectively with their colleagues. 

Breaking Down Stigmas

Recognizing mental health is important. Providing mental health benefits sends a powerful message that mental health is a priority and not something to be stigmatized or ignored. This encourages open conversations about mental health, reducing the stigma associated with seeking help. When employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health, they are more likely to seek support early, preventing issues from escalating. 

Employee Benefits Are Evolving to Adapt

According to Wellable, in 2023, most organizations will invest in the following benefits: mental health (91%), financial wellness (65%), stress management and resilience (77%), and mindfulness and meditation (74%). Here are some examples of programs that our Network Members have launched in response:

  • As an example, UNIQA is providing in some markets on-line psychological support – which include stress management.

  • In France, GAN –through its Welii program—has launched a complete mental health support solution that includes self-diagnosis, unlimited appointments with psychologists, podcasts, videos, fact sheets and more.

  • Canada Life, our Network Member in the UK, also makes mental health a priority. The organization offers a range of Wellbeing services, delivering holistic support to improve the medical, mental, legal, and financial wellbeing of today’s employees. For example, through a simple app, myStrength provides easy access to 24/7 mental health support as well as other services.

  • Danica Pension in Denmark offers a specialized webpage to find a better balance in everyday life and achieve greater well-being in working life. This includes apps, telemedicine, articles, video, advice and a useful tool that allows people to ask themselves questions about their mental wellbeing and simple advice on how to respond.

  • To help improve mental health in China, Ping An offers Health lecture, online consultation, EAP, and Workplace Health Day Activities etc.

  • In Brazil, Care Plus launched a program to support its customers' mental health. The company reports that this is one of the most used services since the pandemic, a reflection of the new moment where mental health is treated with the same importance as physical health.

  • In Mexico, GNP has implemented, for both policyholders and GNP employees, additional benefits such as "Cuida tu salud GNP" which is a corporate prevention program that allows policyholders to assess different aspects of health. This emphasizes the importance of constant review of employee welfare and helps to create a culture of prevention within clients' companies. Communication campaigns and follow-up measures are implemented to support the risks identified through this program.

  • And HSBC Life in Singapore has developed a unique proposition in the market which allows clients and intermediaries to help members with physical, financial and mental wellbeing. For employee benefits clients, it offers the option to cover employees for inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment and provides employees with access to an app-based mental health program that includes remote therapy sessions with professional psychologists. In addition, HSBC Life has included inpatient treatment as a default benefit under its packaged employee benefits plans that take effect on 1 November 2023 or after. 

Overall, our Network Members report we should expect to see more emphasis on these types of programs in the future. Employers who invest in comprehensive mental health benefits are not only doing the right thing for employees but will also reap the benefits of a healthier, more engaged, and productive workforce!