Making Access to Mental Health Care Easier for Your Organization
Every year on October 10th, we celebrate World Mental Health Day, and this year’s theme is: Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority.
Circumstances over the last few years (Global Pandemic) have elevated the conversation around mental health and well-being, and rightfully so. However, far too often the conversation and interventions start and stop at self-care. In order to truly prioritize mental health and well-being for all, we must keep in mind that mental health and self-care aren’t exactly the same thing.
Somewhere someone told us that self-care looked like “bubble baths, refreshing walks, and spa days.”
While, this isn’t exactly wrong, because sometimes that’s exactly what self-care looks like, we have to go beyond the basics to help employees get the precise care they need when they need it. We must dig deeper because giving out gift cards to a spa retreat might be great for some people, but for many struggling with a mental health diagnosis, a spa day is not nearly enough.
So how can organizations more intentionally make mental health and well-being a priority? Here are a few ideas:
Audit Your Benefits
40% of adults believe they don’t have adequate health coverage when it comes to mental health. So even when people seek help, they quickly realize that the costs are high and their insurance doesn’t cover the help they need. The result? Nearly 60 million adults in the United States (more worldwide) go without mental health treatments.
If employees know they won’t be able to pay the costs of mental health treatment, they will be discouraged to seek it out at all.
Take a look at your organization’s benefits and ensure you’re not putting up a roadblock by not including mental health care in your plans. Consider adding an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) with therapy coverage included to your benefits package. Do what you can to ensure that your employees have easy access to the support they need, when they need it.
PTO For Mental Health Days
We all need time away from our work. It’s how we experience other hobbies and interests that fulfill us. And it’s how we rest and recharge so we can come back to work with a capable mindset. But sometimes we also need time away to address whatever mental struggle is going on.
Many organizations try to offer self-care items and strategies to their workers. And while the intention is great, it doesn’t necessarily cover what’s needed by all. Giving your people paid time off of work gives them the time, space, and availability to actually address their needs how they choose.
Making these days available year-round gives your employees the flexibility to step back from one area of life and seek out the self-care that improves their mental health the most.
There is a reason why many workers are now talking about quiet quitting their careers. It’s not because they don’t want to work. They do. But they don’t want to have their boundaries stepped on anymore.
We’re willing to say that not only should you respect the boundaries your workers have defined (no work after 5, weekends are for family, etc), but you should also make it easy for them to keep those boundaries in place.
For example, don’t let the work pile up to an impossible mountain when workers are on vacation. Don’t text, call, or email at times when they didn’t agree to work. Let them take the day off and go on vacation. Let them do whatever they need to do in the space outside of your scope. And let them do it with respect and ease.
Destigmatizing Mental Health Care by Making Access Easier
The stigma of mental health care is starting to break down. More people are seeking help when they feel it’s needed. And more people are turning to therapy and other solutions as part of their well-being and self-care.
This October 10th, when we’re celebrating World Mental Health Day, consider how you can contribute to this conversation. Possibly out loud and publicly, but also between the lines in your organization. Actively ensure your people are covered, easily. And don’t assume that you know what’s best for their own mental health. Sometimes simply giving them a space to easily access their own ideas can go a long way.
And if you’d like a more in-depth look into how you can support the mental health of the people within your organization, we would love to talk with you.