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Corporate Mental Health Programs: Your Path To Thriving Workplaces

14 min read
Published on 03 March, 2021

I think it’s really important to take the stigma away from mental health… My brain and my heart are really important to me. I don’t know why I wouldn’t seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth. — Kerry Washington, HuffPost

The traditional "hustle and grind" mentality is fading. Modern businesses are discovering the secret weapon to peak performance: employee mental health. Imagine a workplace where well-being thrives, not as a perk, but as a fundamental pillar of success.

Mental stability is crucial to increasing employee productivity, absenteeism, turnovers, etc. There is a direct correlation between loss of employee productivity and poor mental health, according to studies.

An elevated absenteeism rate of 5% is associated with poor mental health, and productivity is affected by job conditions, although job security and control mitigate the impact of mental illness on absence days.

The constant rush to meet deadlines, attend meetings, and maintain busy schedules—not to mention workplace politics and competition—makes life all about stress. Together, all of these factors can have a detrimental effect on mental health.

Let's ditch the burnout and explore the transformative power of Corporate Mental Health Programs, the compass guiding modern organizations to unprecedented heights.

Why Does Mental Health Matter In The Workplace?

why-mental-health-matter

It is well known that when employees are happy and cared for by their employers, they can bring their best selves to work and thus increase productivity in their workflows and for the company. The physical health of one's body is an important part of their overall well-being, but so is their mental health.

In reality, stress, burnout, and other mental health issues often lurk in the shadows, silently eroding productivity and skyrocketing absenteeism. Moreover, since Gen-Z is the majority of the new generation of employees, ignoring mental health won't help retain them.

It has been shown that the next generation of employees favors companies committed to employee well-being by sharing their struggles online.

Think of it as equipping your employees for mental fitness, just like you provide physical fitness resources.

The Silent Drain: The Cost of Neglecting Employee Well-being

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Almost 60% of the world's population today are workers, and everyone has the right to a safe and healthy work environment that supports employee mental health. However, work is often linked with stress, and the cost of neglecting employee well-being can result in both low ROI and lower productivity levels.

According to a 2019 study, almost 15% of working adults have some mental health disorder.

"The Silent Drain" – is a phenomenon where stress, burnout, and mental health issues clandestinely infiltrate the workplace, leaving an indelible mark on three critical aspects: absenteeism, presenteeism, and employee turnover.

  • Absenteeism - Imagine a situation where your employees suffer from stress and burnout, finding it difficult to return to work. The result? Absenteeism without prior notice. It becomes more than just a sporadic occurrence; it evolves into a pervasive issue that disrupts workflow and impacts team dynamics. Studies reveal that poor mental health leads to 5% higher absenteeism rates.

  • Presenteeism - Having employees physically present in the office might be a positive sign. However, if you delve a little deeper, you'll discover presenteeism – a situation where employees, despite being physically at work, are mentally and emotionally disengaged.

Burnout and mental health issues cast a shadow over their ability to perform optimally, resulting in reduced productivity, increased errors, and a general decline in work quality.

  • Employee turnover - High levels of stress and burnout often act as precursors to a more severe consequence – employee turnover. The costs associated with employee turnover are multifaceted – recruitment expenses, training investments, and the potential loss of institutional knowledge.

According to a study, lower presenteeism is associated with males, the possibility of postponing work, quality of contact with colleagues, and more than 50 workers in the company.

The Business Case for Mental Health Programs

In the Workplace, mental health issues cause enormous productivity losses and financial stress. Forget "hustle and grind" the future of business belongs to organizations prioritizing employee mental health. This isn't just about compassion – it's about unleashing a tidal wave of increased productivity, soaring engagement, and substantial cost savings.

Here's the data-driven evidence proving why investing in mental health is the smartest move you can make:

1. Boosting Productivity

boosting-productivity

A 21% productivity increase was reported by companies with strong mental health programs (World Health Organization). Imagine your team buzzing with 21% more output - that's deadlines crushed, innovation skyrocketing, and your goals met at warp speed.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) alone yield a $4-to-$6 ROI for every dollar invested (Society for Human Resource Management). Investing in confidential support translates directly to productivity gains as employees address underlying issues affecting their performance.

2. Engagement Explosion

engagement-explosion

Companies with comprehensive mental health programs see a 27% increase in employee engagement (American Psychological Association). Engaged employees are more passionate, dedicated, and invested in your organization’s success. It further translates to lower turnover, higher retention of top talent, and a positive company culture that attracts the best.

Again, incorporating mindfulness training leads to a 58% reduction in presenteeism (Harvard Business Review). Mindfulness helps to combat presenteeism, leading to focused, present, and highly engaged employees.

Suggested Read: 13 Mindfulness Exercises to Improve Employee Well-being at Work

3. A More Cost-effective Approach

cost-effective-approach

Depression alone costs US businesses $26 billion annually in lost productivity (National Institute of Mental Health). By addressing mental health, you actively lower this cost drain and empower your employees to perform at their peak.

Again, organizations with strong mental health programs report a 28% reduction in healthcare costs (Rand Corporation). Investing in preventive measures like mental health support reduces the financial burden of treating chronic health conditions.

The data is clear: mental health initiatives are not just feel-good policies but strategic investments with a tangible ROI. You build a happier workplace and a more productive, engaged, and profitable organization by prioritizing employee well-being.

If you are still unsure why you must invest in a comprehensive mental health program, here are some examples of companies encouraging comprehensive mental health benefits and open dialogues.

These companies are thriving with the help of robust programs and making it clear that any company can take these issues to heart and make positive changes.

What are Corporate Mental Health Programs?

corporate-mental-health-Program

Corporate mental health programs function as structured initiatives designed to enhance and safeguard the mental well-being of employees within an organizational setting.

You can consider them your employees' "mental well-being gyms." They provide tools and resources like therapists, mindfulness training, and support for work-life balance to:

  • Proactively prevent and manage mental health concerns like stress, anxiety, and depression.

  • Foster a positive and supportive workplace environment that prioritizes mental well-being.

  • Equip employees with tools and resources to improve their emotional resilience, coping mechanisms, and overall mental health literacy.

  • Ultimately, contributes to a more engaged, productive, and resilient workforce that drives organizational success.

Their ultimate goal? Happier, more productive employees and a thriving organization. Mental health programs are not just feel-good perks but investments in building a resilient, successful team.

Mental Health Programs In The Workplace

Corporate mental health programs encompass a multifaceted approach to proactive intervention and support for employee well-being. It is a part of wellness programs and can cover everything that boosts mental wellness. Following are some programs employers can start implementing to uplift mental health:

1. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

EAPs

Employee Assistance Programs should be in every organization to assist employees in resolving issues affecting their performance. Through these programs, employers can provide staff screening and counseling sessions for mental and physical health.

Besides, EAP would also make provisions for customized services for the employees based on their needs. These services would be quick responses to difficult and rising stressful situations at work.

Also, it would help to assure your employees that all their information will be kept confidential and that there is nothing to worry about.

2. Mindfulness Initiatives

VFit_meditation-01

Yoga and meditation are great spiritual practices to calm a person and relieve them of negative thoughts. They make you fully aware of your body and mind and help you connect to your inner self. A person with a mental health disorder often needs this self-realization practice.

Cultivates emotional regulation, mental resilience, and improved focus through meditation, yoga, stress management workshops, and other mindfulness practices.

People need to connect with themselves, and these sessions will help them. Mindfulness and meditation boost spiritual health, too, together with fostering overall wellness.

Therefore, conduct yoga and mindfulness sessions occasionally and de-stress your employees. You can also use online wellbeing applications with features like guided meditation and yoga. These online features can help your employees to meditate or do yoga whenever and wherever.

You can also ask your employees to take mindfulness breaks to get some fresh air to unwind and de-stress. Empower employees with tools to manage workplace stress and enhance overall well-being.

Suggested Read: How To Reduce Stress Hormones - 5 Natural Ways

3. Mental Health Literacy Programs

mental-health-literacy

Workplace workshops are engaging programs that make employees conscious of their health and well-being. It is always interesting to know about something which you can relate to. For employees struggling with stress and trauma, workshops on mental health issues will make the event worthwhile.

As an employer, you might host a workshop or a seminar where you can invite an experienced wellness speaker or a wellness coach to whom people can look up. The expert can discuss the various mental health issues people struggle with daily and how to overcome those. Sessions like this are interactive and motivating enough for people to feel positive.

These sessions encourage employees to come forward and share their issues. Besides, hire a counselor to talk to the employees and discuss their issues, offering them appropriate solutions.

Along with this, you can distribute pamphlets highlighting the prevalence and negligence of mental health.

Be dedicated to change the way in which people see mental illness at all levels of society. If not for yourself, advocate for those who are struggling in silence. — Germany Kent

4. Wellness Programs

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Mental health has much to do with physical activities directly correlating to heart disease conditions, diabetes, etc. After all, the brain is a part of the body, and physical health has everything to do with the physique. That's how it's all connected.

Also, physical health is inversely related to company costs. It implies that the company's cost increases if an employee's health deteriorates. Employees with mental and physical health disorders are bound to incur more costs than those without such conditions. Corporations always benefit from low medical prices.

You must motivate your employees to keep their bodies moving by walking, running, or participating in some other wellness activity. Mild workouts, as such, can prevent physical and mental disorders, including depressive episodes.

You can introduce wellness initiatives like walkathons or marathons regularly to engage your employees and give their best. Set proper targets for them to achieve. The more they participate, the more they will stay active.

Suggested Read: A Step-By-Step Virtual Marathon Guide For Employers

5. Healthy Group Activities

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A structured group activity within a mental health program can deliver remarkable benefits as organizations prioritize employee well-being. As well as promoting mental health, these activities foster team building, engagement, and a positive work environment. Here are some professionally-oriented examples categorized for easy selection:

  • Mindful movement sessions: Gentle yoga, tai chi, or guided walking meditations can cultivate focus, reduce stress, and improve emotional regulation.

  • Biofeedback and relaxation training: Employers can learn to regulate their stress responses through technology.

  • Collaborative problem-solving activities: Challenges or games that require teamwork enhance communication, trust, and problem-solving skills.

  • Volunteer initiatives: Contributing to a worthy cause outside the workplace can build team spirit, boost morale, and promote shared purpose.

  • Lunch and Learn sessions: Invite experts to lead discussions on mindfulness, stress management, or emotional intelligence to broaden employees' knowledge and equip them with practical tools.

6. Workplace Culture Initiatives

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You can implement smoke cessation policies as a part of your workplace culture initiatives.

Often, employees resort to certain harmful activities to relieve their stress and anxiety. With all the meetings and deadlines to achieve, employees might often find relief in smoking or tobacco consumption. That can become a habit and impact one’s physical and mental health.

Behavioral health disorders can seriously threaten both active and passive smokers. What employers can do to avoid these issues is introduce smoke cessation programs. These programs can assist individuals willing to quit smoking to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.

They can also encourage the rest of the people to quit smoking through awareness sessions.

Fosters a supportive environment through flexible work arrangements, generous leave policies, and inclusive leadership. You can create a healthy work culture by promoting open communication, empathy, and work-life balance.

How To Create Your Mental Health Program?

In the evolving landscape of workplace dynamics, prioritizing mental health has become paramount for fostering a resilient and thriving workforce. Crafting a robust mental health program at work requires a strategic approach and a genuine commitment to the well-being of employees. Here is a step-by-step process to help your organization create and implement an effective mental health program.

1. Education and Awareness

education-awareness

You can start by fostering a culture of open communication around mental health. Conduct workshops and internal campaigns and invite guest speakers to raise awareness and destigmatize mental health. Encourage leaders and management to normalize mental health conversations, setting a positive example for the organization.

2. Leadership Buy-in

leadership-buy-in

Securing active endorsement from executive leadership is crucial. Ensure your leaders actively champion mental health initiatives, participate in awareness campaigns, and allocate necessary resources. Their visible support creates a foundation for a culture that values and prioritizes mental well-being.

3. Flexible Work Arrangements

flexible-work-environment

Integrate flexibility into work schedules by offering remote work, flexible hours, and mental health days off. This supports better work-life balance and reduces stress levels among employees.

Suggested Read: How To Boost The Mental Health Of Remote Workers?

4. Flexible Leave Policies

flexible-leave-policies

Support employees facing mental health challenges with compassionate leave policies. Provide employees with different types of leave options to prioritize their mental health.

Often, employees might worry about being perceived as less committed and may not take vacations as readily. Encourage using vacation leave by taking time off yourself and encouraging managers to do the same.

APA’s 2018 Work and Well-Being Survey found that taking time off helps workers recover from stress and experience positive effects that improve their well-being and job performance.

5. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

employee-assistance-program

To maximize employee engagement in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and encourage positive outcomes, regularly audit your EAP to ensure you maximize your workers' benefits.

Learn about employee assistance programs (EAPs) that provide confidential support for mental health concerns. Choose an EAP aligned with your company's needs, ensuring cultural competency. Promote EAP utilization and ensure confidentiality for employees seeking help.

37% of employees say employer-provided mental health resources can contribute to a better work environment (APA, October 2021).

6. Mental Health First Aid Training

mental-health-training

Invest in Mental Health First Aid training for all employees. Equip them with the knowledge and skills to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health challenges in their colleagues. This proactive approach will help to foster a supportive environment.

Remember, mental health first aid training is not just for the leaders but for everyone. If you train all your employees, it will equip your entire organization with mental health knowledge and foster empathy and understanding.

Suggested Read: 5 Perks Of Incorporating Mental Health First Aid Kit At Work

7. Building A Supportive Environment

healthy-supportive-environment

Encourage inclusivity and respect for diverse experiences with mental health. Actively promote empathy and active listening and establish peer support networks. Create a workplace culture that embraces mental well-being as an integral part of overall health.

Bridging the Mental Health Gap - Companies Offering Solutions for Employee Mental Health

Numerous mental health challenges employees face on a day-to-day basis. It can be the lack of treatment options, confusing EAPs, or finding the right therapist. It impacts the well-being and costs employers through lost productivity and increased healthcare expenses. Thankfully, many innovative players are stepping in to bridge this gap.

Here are five companies that are offering unique, evidence-based approaches:

  1. Lyra Health: Technology-driven mental health with vetted therapists (in-person, virtual, even onsite), individual therapy, coaching, and data-driven insights for employers. Boasts a 50% reduced turnover and 20% lower therapy/prescription costs.

  2. BetterUp: It is a behavioral health solution with personalized coaching delivered by a global network of experts. AI identifies employee needs, recommending coaches, content, and coaching duration. Reports 130% individual performance increase and 25% team performance boost.

  3. Talkspace: it is a secure online therapy platform connecting users with licensed therapists. Proven effectiveness with a 50% full recovery rate for anxiety/depression and a 36% productivity increase.

  4. Calm: It is a downloadable wellness App featuring guided meditations, mindfulness exercises, expert masterclasses, and family-focused options. They have also partnered with companies to improve employee well-being, reporting 84% improvement in mental health and 81% stress reduction.

  5. Learn to Live: They provide an online CBT platform with 24/7 accessible lessons, live coaching, and a high utilization rate (27%). They have Reported 48% engagement at 6 months and a 50% decrease in anxiety/depression.

Vantage Fit: Your Partner in Comprehensive Well-being

Vantage-fit

Beyond these leading players, Vantage Fit is a comprehensive and adaptable solution. This App collaborates with organizations to design and implement wellness programs, integrating the best elements of individual therapy, group support, mindfulness initiatives, and gamification of wellness challenges.

The Vantage Fit app features mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and mood meter. The mindfulness feature enables you to take meditation sessions ranging from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. You can find different meditation techniques on the platform, from sleep meditation to self-awareness. The mood meter enables the employees to check their mood status,, and by that, employers can monitor the mental health of their employees.

The assessment of mood for a time frame will help employers know if their employees are going through a tough phase and falling prey to stress or other mental health disorders.

Suggested Read: How to Sync Vantage Fit with Your Android Devices and Wearables

Summing It Up

As we wrap up this journey, reflect on the profound impact of prioritizing mental health in the workplace. Crafting a mental health program at work invests in your organization's long-term success and sustainability.

Each investment in well-being is an investment in the future of your organization. By prioritizing mental well-being, you enhance employee satisfaction and contribute to a positive, supportive, high-performing workplace culture. Embrace these steps, tailor them to your organization's unique needs, and embark on the journey to create a mentally healthy and thriving work environment.

Ready to embark on your mental health journey? Explore Vantage Fit's innovative solutions today. Contact us today to discuss your unique needs and embark on your journey toward a mentally healthy, thriving organization.

Your path to a resilient and thriving workplace starts here.

This article is written by Neha Yasmin who is a content marketer at Vantage Circle. A selenophile with a penchant for discovering great meals and drinks. Is a self-proclaimed binge racer with a knack for cooking in her spare time. For queries, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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