The Cost of Workplace Mental Health… And What Employers Can Do About It

The Cost of Workplace Mental Health

Mental health is costing employers and employees alike. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress, which greatly impacts mental health, in turn affects employees’ physical health in the form of decreased immune system, digestive issues and migraines. It’s also estimated that workplace stress costs employers $500 billion annually in the form of decreased performance at work or absenteeism.

And this was before the COVID-19 pandemic changed life, not to mention work, as we know it.

Fortunately, you, as HR and business leaders, are in a position to help. There is an opportunity to provide support that can benefit employees with improved health and wellbeing and your employer with an improved bottom line over time. 

These voluntary benefits support your employees’ combined mental and physical health needs. 

Corporate Wellbeing Programs

Corporate wellbeing programs, like those offered by HealthFitness, a Trustmark company, address the “whole-person” view of employee health, factoring in not only physical but the social, emotional, financial and environmental dimensions of wellbeing that also can impact mental health. Physical health can help your employees, and you, maintain a positive outlook, build higher self-esteem and enjoy more energy – key variables always but particularly now. 

Hospital Indemnity Insurance

A voluntary benefit like hospital indemnity insurance can help mitigate employee concerns about healthcare coverage that often lead to workplace stress and eventually, larger health issues. When evaluating hospital indemnity insurance, seek those that may include a benefit rarely covered in most plans – mental wellness and addiction recovery support. This kind of added benefit, like Trustmark’s StayPay plan, demonstrates to employees that you, as an employer, care about them. Further, hospital indemnity insurance also provides employees with choice and control over coverage to help them become smarter healthcare consumers, ultimately benefiting them and you, as an employer. 

Disability Plans

Something I’ve seen expressed from employees and our customers is a desire for mental illness and substance abuse coverage to be included in disability plans. Fortunately, new disability policies are addressing this concern, offering coverage to help with mental health and substance abuse struggles. These plans offer no reduction in benefits, a lifetime maximum or separate benefit period and treat these illnesses like any other claim.

Looking ahead, there is an opportunity for you as an employer to rethink benefit plans as “health hubs” that take a “whole-person” view of employee health, factoring in multiple wellbeing dimensions. It involves listening to employees and getting a better feel for their current and future wants and needs as they relate to workplace mental health support. And then determining which of the voluntary benefits might help your company best address these evolving employee needs.

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Christin Kuretich

Christin Kuretich joined Trustmark in 2009. As senior director, product & innovation for Trustmark’s accident and critical illness insurance products, she is responsible for researching marketplace trends and assessing the voice of the customer in order to create new product solutions for customers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.


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