The conversation around healthcare has evolved beyond just physical well-being. While physical health remains crucial, the spotlight is increasingly including mental and emotional wellness — an area often sidelined amid the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Mental health needs are on the rise among Americans, and employers have a unique opportunity to address these evolving health needs by gaining a deeper understanding of mental health and prioritizing employee health.
As Q4 approaches, employers naturally focus on their business goals and the holiday season. However, it's important to note that for many, the holidays can be tough. In fact, 64% of people with mental illness say the holidays make their conditions worse. A 2021 survey found that three in five Americans feel like the holidays negatively impact their mental health. This is an ideal moment for employers to think about how they can better support employees’ physical and mental well-being.
Mental health issues are not always obvious, especially in the workplace. Recent federal data shows that one in five American adults experience mental illness every year and approximately 46 million people in America experienced a substance use disorder in the previous year. Alarmingly, suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States.
Work is an important lifeline to healthcare for many Americans. Employers are therefore in a powerful and influential position, where they have the ability to prioritize and positively influence the mental and physical health of their employees. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified many preexisting mental health issues, including rates of anxiety, depression, substance use disorder, and workplace stress and burnout. One survey found that almost half of workers said that their work is suffering because of poor mental health, and the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace can hinder access to treatment.
Employment is acknowledged as one of the major social and institutional factors that can affect one's health. Job quality is an important factor in a person’s mental health and ability to access treatment for mental health conditions. Employers play a critical role in fostering a positive environment where organizational talent feels comfortable seeking support for mental health conditions. The best employers seek to provide important connections to resources, supports, accommodations, and benefits designed to improve mental health and facilitate equitable access to treatment.
In addition to personal struggles talent may experience, mental health issues can create bottom-line issues for the business as a whole. The World Health Organization estimates that mental health issues cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year.
Poor employee health and stress can negatively affect employee productivity across many areas:
Overall quality and performance.
Engagement with one’s work.
Communication with coworkers.
Physical capability and daily functioning.
One study sought to determine how employee health conditions impact performance. More than 250 people were surveyed across a range of sectors. The aim was to better understand how individuals with mental health issues navigate the workplace and cope with their mental health while in employment, as well as gain insight into how mental health conditions affect their work. The study found that employee health affected work quality, productivity, and mistake frequency. The study subjects often found it difficult to concentrate and stay focused, and they experienced substantial shifts in energy.
The study revealed a few successful strategies that could improve employee health — including access to proper medication and counseling, which had a positive effect on their work performance.
Addressing mental health issues in the workplace can reduce healthcare costs for businesses and employees. One way to cultivate that environment is to encourage employees to engage in preventive health.
Healthcare is inaccessible to many Americans due to cost and other socioeconomic factors such as geography, convenience, and insurance issues. Furthermore, despite having employer-sponsored health plans, most employees struggle with accessing the benefits they deserve due to confusion around benefits or stress around unforeseen out-of-pocket costs.
According to a recent national survey, only 46% of employees report receiving a mental health screening in their lifetime. This is significant considering 38% of respondents to the same survey reported unresolved physical or mental health issues had negatively impacted their work performance.
Employers often have to think outside of the box to keep employees healthy amid the rising costs of health care, especially considering that employee health is a proven factor in the bottom line and profitability. Wellness initiatives — including affordable employer-sponsored health plans — can curb productivity loss and improve employee health.
Insurance plans that offer cover for preventive care can help people proactively engage in their health, leading to better employee health overall. Preventive care encompasses the application of healthcare measures to prevent illness. The rising out-of-pocket healthcare costs have forced talent to search for employers who can offer comprehensive health insurance plans that cover preventive care.
Partnering with an insurance provider that centers on preventive health can help employers support workers’ well-being in three important ways:
Long-term cost savings
Better health outcomes
Reduced medical debt
So, how do you find an employee-sponsored health plan that offers preventive health coverage and suits your organization? The best health insurance companies prioritize transparency, simplicity, and affordability for members. They also listen to and prioritize the unique needs of employers in their communities, offering diverse health plan options.
Transparency. You shouldn’t feel confused by what health insurance plan your organization can offer employees. The best providers are upfront and clear about costs, services, and how they can improve employee health.
Simplicity. Care management should be stress-free. Hassle-free access to comprehensive health services, such as pharmacies and virtual care, can help leaders improve employee health and encourage preventive health initiatives.
Affordability. Again, the cost of healthcare is exorbitant. What's the point of offering employee health plans and preventive health plans if they’re not financially effective? The right insurance provider will recognize this — and offer affordable options for your team.
Curative is innovative, employer-sponsored health insurance. With Curative, you can focus on healthcare, not cost. We want people to engage in their healthcare and love using their health benefits. Our health plan delivers better health through affordability, engagement, and simplicity.
At Curative, we know that taking care of your mental well-being is just as important as looking after your physical health. Our wellness program is designed to connect our members to mental health resources that address their individual needs. Access to $0 therapy: Finding a therapist can be a challenge. We’re here to help you find in-network therapy with no out-of-pocket costs*. Whether it’s a therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist, we’ll walk you through the steps to find the best fit for you. No-hassle meds: We can help you find an in-network pharmacy along with guidance on transferring and filling prescriptions. We’ll also help ensure your medication is working properly and can offer guidance if you have questions about side effects or usage. Support on your time: Our care team will help you stay on track with your care through one-on-one check-ins. We work around your schedule and can provide support as little or frequently as needed. Virtual therapy with Televero: Members can tap into remote therapy through our partnership with Televero. It's hassle-free to schedule appointments and get connected to a therapist within a week.* Emergencies: If you find yourself in a critical situation or experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 988 for immediate support.
For more information on how Curative can help you cultivate better employee health in your organization, visit our members page.
*Every Curative member can qualify for the $0 out-of-pocket costs for in-network care and preferred prescriptions with the completion of a Baseline Visit in the first 120 days of the plan's effective date. See curative.com to learn more. Curative Insurance Company. *Please note that Televero is currently only available for members in Texas.
Gillison, D. H. (2021, December 20). The Most Difficult Time of The Year: Mental Health During the Holidays. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/From-the-CEO/December-2021/The-Most-Difficult-Time-of-The-Year-Mental-Health-During-the-Holidays.
Mental Health and the Holiday Blues (2014, November 19). National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Press-Media/Press-Releases/2014/Mental-health-and-the-holiday-blues.
Goldman, T. (2023, May 1). Mental Health at Work: Raising Awareness of Current Resources. U.S. Department of Labor. https://blog.dol.gov/2023/05/01/mental-health-at-work-raising-awareness-of-current-resources.
Percy, S. (2020, January 22). Barrier to Performance: Why We Need To Talk About Mental Health At Work. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/sallypercy/2020/01/22/barrier-to-performance-why-we-need-to-talk-about-mental-health-at-work/?sh=2e098c0e1d73.
Mental Health in the Workplace. (2019, April 10). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/tools-resources/workplace-health/mental-health/index.html.