Improve Employee Mental Health with Mercer Marsh Benefits | Mercer Marsh Benefits

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Building better mental wellbeing throughout the workforce

Mental and emotional health conditions were exacerbated during COVID-19, with more people than ever before suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and addiction. Even as the pandemic eased the ongoing damage to people’s mental health has been profound.

For instance, our Health on Demand 2023 found that workplace pressures are contributing to 47% of employees saying they feel stressed in everyday life. The business impacts can be severe, including low productivity, escalating benefits spend, and damage to the employment value proposition and brand.

HR and risk managers agree, according to Mercer Marsh Benefits’ People Risk report, which found more than 50% of firms saying that workforce exhaustion and mental health are likely and impactful risks to their organization in the next 3 years. In both instances, more than one-third considered that these risks could have a catastrophic or high impact on the organization.

Firms are seeing escalating workforce exhaustion, caused by work-life balance issues, change fatigue, and too many priorities and distractions.

COVID-19 intensified this challenge, thrusting many people into the role of caregiver for the first time and creating additional pressures with potentially substantial negative mental and physical health impacts. If not managed proactively, this can lead to safety and productivity concerns as well as exits from the labor force, particularly for women and low-income wage earners.

While legislators are making some strides towards better protection of mental health, employers must address this issue now, and take immediate steps to protect their workforces. HR and risk managers are uniquely positioned to reinvent health and wellbeing plans in ways that can lead to positive impacts for employers and employees alike, in addition to fostering an environment where people can thrive.

Employees want help covering the cost of mental health treatment and tools to build resilience. Half of workers say that they cannot easily afford quality mental health support, according to Mercer Marsh Benefits’ Health on Demand 2023 report.

Employers can help — and survey results show it will mean a lot to their employees if they do. Progress still needs to be made since only 54% of global respondents would feel comfortable telling a manager or colleague that they see a therapist or take medicine for a mental health issue. Meanwhile, 52% say they have worked in the past year while feeling mentally unwell.

Insurance coverage and other programs that reduce the cost of mental health support are seen as highly or extremely valuable by 41% of employees. The same number would value virtual counseling with a therapist via video chat or text for anxiety, sadness or relationship issues.

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