Workplace Wellbeing

Why Investing in Mental Health Pays Off

The importance of mental wellness in the workplace has never been more salient, but the process of evaluating all the options out there can be overwhelming. So, we’re breaking down how to find a solution that is worth it and proven to work for your organization.

Written by
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Shannon Maynard
Certified Professional Coach
Clinically reviewed by
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    Validation matters, especially when it comes to changing lives

    Have you ever wondered if a mental health solution would actually make a difference for your employees—and your organization’s bottom line?

    According to WTW’s 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, 27% of employees rank managing their emotional health in the top three issues they most want their employers to focus on. 

    The importance of mental wellness in the workplace has never been more salient, but the process of evaluating all the options out there can be overwhelming. So, we’re breaking down how to find a solution that is worth it and proven to work for your organization. 

    Expanded access to mental health benefits

    Health and Benefits Director Elaine Cannella and Health and Benefits Associate Director Alicia Rost, both from WTW, have dedicated a lot of time to uncovering what employees want most to support their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

    Their focus is on designing a complete benefits package to solve each of their clients’ biggest challenges, beginning with expanded access to EAP and mental health benefits. This includes:

    • Enhancing access to digital mental health appointments
    • Offering a diverse network of Providers that employees can chose from based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and areas of speciality 
    • Moving away from the traditional EAP model and toward innovative EAP solutions

    A focus on improving employee mental health

    WTW’s 2021 Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey revealed that mental and behavioral health is the number one clinical area that employers will be focusing on over the next three years to improve employee health. 

    Employers also ranked increasing communications as the most important action to take to do this well. 

    “One thing that has had the biggest impact is having a CEO send out a communication primarily introducing the [Spring Health] benefit but also conveying that the employees’ wellbeing is top of mind,” says Elaine. “This really drove the utilization of this solution.”

    The mental healthcare access problem

    WTW’s 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey looked at what is preventing employees from getting treatment for mental health issues, and identified cost as one of the top four reasons. 

    The survey results revealed that access to care is a more important factor in delaying treatment for employees with poor mental health compared to physical health:

    • 45% of employees with anxiety or depression struggled to get an appointment with a doctor in a reasonable amount of time in the past year
    • 35% had to wait three months or more for an in-person appointment with a mental health specialist

    “The importance of access to care is, in my mind, a priority,” says Elaine. “Point of entry is the first phone call, first outreach of the employee which will drive the employee experience from that point on. If it’s positive, we’ll see individualized, customized care AND whole emotional wellbeing.” 

    Here are the five biggest findings from the survey:

    1. Employee mental health: this is an increasingly important topic as severe cases are more likely to report more days lost, lower retention, and lower financial wellbeing
    2. Barriers to access: 3 in 5 employees with indicators of anxiety or depression have not had treatment in the past year
    3. Virtual care: This increases access to mental health specialists for employees on low wages and in non-urban areas
    4. Mental health days: This is the top benefit employees want from their employers, along with more generous cover and wider access to mental health professionals
    5. Support: Only 2 in 5 report that their employers’ initiatives have helped to improve their mental health

    Behavioral health solutions in the marketplace

    There are a lot of solutions out there, and it can be overwhelming for employers to know where to start. There has recently been a big shift away from the traditional EAP model, and toward the emerging reimagined EAP

    Each person approaches their wellbeing in their own unique way, so the individualized care delivered by an innovative EAP is essential. Some will engage and be self directed and others will need continual support to get back to a sustainable, whole, emotional wellbeing space. 

    Every employee begins their Spring Health journey with a clinically-validated assessment, which becomes the immediate entry point to address their needs and elevates the employee experience ten fold. 

    Also, some people don’t need a therapist, they need a coach. Others need psychiatric care. Each employee who enrolls in Spring Health’s solution is paired with a dedicated Care Navigator, who is also a licensed clinician, to guide them through their mental health journey. 

    Elaine says, “If you take a step back, the stigma has always been there, and it’s always been tied directly to the employee experience. 

    “As we start to address access to care and point of entry, we’ll notice that not only is the heartfelt communication of a mental health solution important, but it’s dismissing that stigma we frequently see of accessing these benefits. Another step forward is to ensure that the experience is positive.”

    Proven ROI from a workplace mental health program

    When employers implement a mental health solution, they often discover that the process is too confusing for their employees and there are long wait times to schedule an appointment with a Provider. 

    But one of the greatest challenges is the financial aspect. “Mental health is usually a top three area of spend for large organizations,” says Adam Chekroud, Spring Health’s President and Co-Founder. “So it's equally important that they see business results on the back end.”

    A landmark three-year study published in the world’s leading medical journal, JAMA Network Open, recently validated Spring Health as the first and only mental healthcare company that actually improves employee mental health while helping to generate significant financial return for employers. Here are some of the most exciting results.

    Clinically Effective:

    • 70% reliably improved their mental health
    • 5.9 weeks average time to remission

    Improved time in the workplace:

    • 25% fewer days missed
    • 24% increase in productivity

    Improved retention:

    • 50% less likely to leave their job

    Cost effective:

    • $3,440 salary savings per participant over 6 months at federal median wage

    “Time to recovery is really important down the line,” says Adam. “When we think about driving business value and helping reduce the total cost of care, helping people get better faster and helping people consume fewer visits to get better can drive significant ROI on the backend.” 

    Reducing healthcare costs 

    Santa Barbara Actuaries (SBA), a third party actuarial firm, independently validated Spring Health and its financial ROI for employers and found that when companies make an investment in employee mental health, financial outcomes improve because of Spring Health. 

    Here are the key findings from this study:

    • Spring Health is the only mental health solution to show NET financial ROI
    • $2,195 NET financial savings after deducting Spring Health cost of care, as compared to $254 of savings from a leading competitor
    • 30% net PPY savings on average, across all Spring Health customer studies
    • We achieve these savings through faster recovery times, with participants recovering in under 6 weeks

    “This speed to recovery really translates into real world health savings, reducing that unnecessary care,” says Mill Brown, SVP of Medical Affairs at Spring Health. 

    “We'll continue this work with more employers as we expand our learnings in this area and then continue to drive better care at the best possible value, for all of our members and our employers.”

    Watch our latest webinar on demand to go deeper into how to build an effective, data-driven business case for a mental health solution that drives clinical outcomes and financial ROI. 

    About the Author
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    Shannon Maynard
    Certified Professional Coach

    Shannon is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Spring Health, and has 15 years of marketing experience. She is also a Certified Professional Coach, Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, introvert, and HSP. She loves writing about introversion and mental health, and is a regular contributor for Introvert, Dear and Highly Sensitive Refuge.

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