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Exploring Mental Health Benefits

The overall well-being of an employee has never been more of a priority for employers as it is right now. From health care to vision care to mental health care, the entirety of the employee’s health is important to the health of the organization.

Importance of Mental Health Benefits

Mental health and the cost of not treating its issues has far-reaching effects from the individual to the global world.

  • If left untreated, an employee’s poor mental health could lead to work related accidents, absenteeism, poor workplace productivity, and even workplace violence.
  • Mental health costs make up about 8% of the US’s total healthcare spending.
  • The National Institute on Mental Health estimates that major mental illness costs the US at least $193 billion per year in lost earnings.
  • Globally, depression and anxiety issues cost about $1 trillion a year.

Types of Mental Health Benefits

Mental health benefits can look different for each organization. Universally, businesses offer some sort of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to its members. EAPs include services that are typically delivered online or by telephone. Services may include alcohol and substance abuse counseling, legal aid, and health and wellness counseling. These services are offered to the employee free of charge and are done anonymously.

As an extension of basic health care benefits, mental health benefits can also include one-on-one counseling with a licensed counselor for a certain number of sessions.  Mental health benefits may also incorporate wellness programs like relaxation and meditation classes, sleep techniques, and stress management lessons. Check your health insurance benefits package details as you may find mental health insurance coverage included under the behavioral health section.

During open enrollment, when employers present the employees with the upcoming year’s health insurance plans, the employee should also ask about mental healthcare options. Just as you assess the different healthcare plans and what fits best for you and your family, you can also assess the costs and coverage of mental health plans. Also, find out if your company offers a Flexible Spending Account as you can use that pre-tax money to pay for out-of-pocket mental health service costs.

Now, more than ever, people are more aware of the benefits to good mental health and how it affects their overall health and work performance.  Utilize the company sponsored EAP offerings and investigate the details of your health insurance plan to find out what mental health services are covered. Your overall health and well-being are important and so are you!