Yes, employees really do want and need mental health support

The pandemic has demonstrated, greater than ever earlier than, that corporations who want to draw and retain the perfect expertise ought to be certain that their advantages choices embody a various set of mental health helps. That’s one of many key findings from Mercer’s 2021 Health on Demand report, which surveyed greater than 14,000 employees in 13 international locations about their emotions on work, advantages, and their employers within the wake of COVID-19. The outcomes emphasize the urgency of coping with mental health points—and define a possibility to concentrate on sources that may enhance the emotional well-being of employees.

Our findings clearly present what many people have been experiencing firsthand. The pandemic didn’t simply have an effect on bodily health—it spawned a wave of tension, loneliness, and heartbreak that numerous persons are nonetheless processing. Nearly one in 5 employees (17%) worldwide describe themselves as extremely or extraordinarily burdened day by day, with employees within the U.S. (25%) and Mexico (24%) reporting being essentially the most burdened. One in 5 say they really feel extra lonely or remoted than earlier than. One in ten say they misplaced a member of the family or shut good friend to COVID-19.

Some teams specifically struggled throughout the pandemic. Girls, single dad and mom, low-paid staff, and LGBTQ+ employees report above-average stress ranges and usually tend to really feel loneliness or isolation.


Associated: Mental health sources on the chopping block


However even with this overwhelming need, assist has been arduous to come back by. Greater than 40% of employees in our survey say discovering and accessing high quality mental healthcare is tough, a actuality most pronounced within the Americas. Whereas many employers stepped up throughout COVID-19 to offer entry to mental health sources, reviews swirling of employers planning to scale back this protection are regarding. We need to grab the chance to “reset for the higher” and shield the health of not solely our workforces, however our whole society.

The additional advantages of additional advantages

Main employers that present complete and handy mental health sources stand to distinguish themselves in a aggressive labor market. Greater than half of employees charge support that covers the price of mental health remedy for themselves and their relations as a particularly useful profit. With crucial labor shortages in the US, an organization’s advantages might be the deciding issue for potential employees.

Along with expertise attraction, our survey reveals that employers who present mental health advantages will expertise higher expertise retention as properly. Some 42% of employees with entry to mental health advantages say they’re extra more likely to keep at their present group (versus 27% of these with out entry to mental health advantages).

The Health on Demand report additionally clarifies which mental health advantages employees worth most—with some surprising outcomes. As an example, nearly half of staff say they’d worth digital support teams to fight loneliness and isolation. Maybe essentially the most stunning discovering is that greater than a 3rd of employees see worth in accessing mental health recommendation powered by synthetic intelligence—with none human involvement. Whereas interacting with a mental health skilled could also be extra helpful, this implies that know-how and AI can play an vital function in a mental health panorama the place entry is a bottleneck.

These findings coincide with one other pattern our survey uncovered: a brand new willingness to interact with digital healthcare. Distant work and stay-at-home orders resulted in nearly three-quarters of employees saying they used telehealth companies in 2020. However that is unlikely to stay a pandemic-only pattern: Upward of 84% of survey respondents mentioned they plan to make use of digital companies to fulfill a few of their bodily and mental health wants going ahead. This implies curiosity in teletherapy advantages is more likely to improve.

Whereas these are a few of the advantages employees worth most, it’s additionally vital for employers to contemplate providing a full vary of support companies in order that numerous wants might be met. Whereas some employees might profit from applications to construct resilience or mindfulness, others might worth focused support for youth challenges, substance abuse, or office coaching. And for these applications to be seen as real, it’s crucial that they be delivered as half of a bigger tradition of caring that features significant flexibility, supportive management, and reasonably priced healthcare.   

Our analysis clearly demonstrates that employees worth mental healthcare advantages. Nevertheless it additionally exhibits that there’s a vital return on funding for employers. Nearly two-thirds of employees with entry to mental healthcare advantages say they felt very properly supported by their employers, versus 44% of these with out entry. And that support straight improved staff’ skilled and private resilience within the face of COVID-19. Effectively-supported employees usually seen the pandemic as having each constructive and destructive impacts on their lives; those that obtained much less support from their employers had been twice as more likely to view the pandemic as largely or completely destructive. This implies that providing mental health advantages to employees will help safeguard employers from worker turnover and productiveness declines—rising organizational resiliency in occasions of disaster.

The 2021 Health on Demand survey paints a transparent image: The pandemic has weighed closely on staff. However employers are in a novel place to assist ease the burden. By investing in employees’ mental health, employers have the possibility to create extra loyal employees, higher enterprise outcomes, and more healthy societies. That’s a win-win-win.


Martine Ferland is the president and CEO of Mercer, the world’s largest agency consulting on points regarding workforce, retirement, and worker health.