Hearst and Spring Health Are Pioneering Mental Health Initiatives In the Workplace

With Spring Health, Hearst is lowering turnover for those in care by 75% and recovering an average of ~140 productive hours per member, per year.

With Spring Health, Hearst is lowering turnover for those in care by 75% and recovering an average of ~140 productive hours per member, per year.

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    Spring Health champions the unique culture and preferences of each of our customers. Hearst refers to all employees as colleagues, and we’re doing the same throughout their success story.  

    Journalists across the U.S. face a distinct set of stressors as they're often on the frontlines of violence and tragedy, witnessing humanitarian crises, wars, and over the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic. When colleagues at Hearst Newspapers started requesting easier access to mental wellness support, the organization’s leaders immediately saw the need to do more.

    According to the DART Center for Journalism & Trauma, research suggests that between 80 and 100% of all journalists nationally have been exposed to work-related traumatic events, and according to NiemanLab, over 60% report experiencing high levels of anxiety.

    Recognizing the unique needs of their journalism colleagues, Hearst partnered with Spring Health to build a tailored mental health solution. A newly released case study  details how the two organizations worked together to offer a virtual and in-person behavioral health option with quick access to care and diverse providers—and industry-leading results. 

    Hearst is one of the nation’s largest global, diversified information, services, and media companies. To date, of the Hearst colleagues enrolled in Spring Health, 84% have completed a clinical assessment, and of those, 65% have participated in at least one therapy session. Additionally, 87% of those with depression and 83% with anxiety have improved their symptoms, and 62% and 58% respectively have improved to mild or no symptoms.

    The return on investment is striking. In the program’s first year, Spring Health was able to help Hearst save $283 per member per month, recover an average of ~140 productive hours per member per year, and lower turnover for those in treatment by 75%.

    Since switching to Spring Health, access to care has significantly increased. Hearst colleagues and their dependents can now make a therapy appointment in an average of 1.3 days and a medication management appointment in 1.8 days, compared to the U.S. national average of 48 days.

    According to Maria Walsh, SVP and head of global benefits at Hearst, the COVID-19 pandemic legitimized telemedicine for behavioral health, opening new possibilities for support and normalizing accessing care.

    Spring Health also helped Hearst find and hire Mariah Winslow, a dedicated, in-house clinician to support Hearst Newspapers. Working one day a week from the San Francisco Chronicle, Mariah, who is trained in trauma, is able to better understand the journalists’ unique culture and experience when working with Hearst Newspaper colleagues.

    “Spring Health really stepped up to that challenge,” Maria says. “We wanted someone highly trained in trauma, PTSD, that could speak to journalists… and Spring built it for us. Colleagues trust her.” 

    “Mariah is the best therapist I've ever worked with,” a Hearst Newspapers colleague says. “In the last few months, I've made more progress, found more inner peace than I have with any therapist I've ever worked with. I've processed a lot of trauma and am finding my way to actual happiness.”

    Another key goal of introducing Spring Health at Hearst was to help normalize the conversation around mental health. Colleagues report it has become normal to talk about stress and trauma, and today, mental health is embedded into the organization’s culture. “Leadership has really helped in that,” Maria says. “It’s no longer taboo.”

    Mariah also plays a key role in keeping stigma at bay. She helps drive larger conversations around mental health, holding sessions for human resources and other leaders on how to maintain a culture of care and respond in an empathetic and trauma-informed way. She supports critical incidents and drives awareness through newsletters and home mailers.

    “Just because you're taking care of other people's stories doesn't mean your story doesn't matter,” Mariah says, and adds that working with Hearst Newspapers’ California and Texas-based reporters is a career highlight.

     According to Maria, engagement with Spring Health services is nearly 30% at Hearst, far surpassing the usage of traditional employee assistance programs, which is typically less than 2%.

    Hearst’s partnership with Spring Health is an example of personalized mental health care made more accessible and effective, helping to support a healthier and happier workplace.

    “Spring has just been the perfect vendor from my perspective,” Maria says. “They’re exceptional. What they’re doing is really great and really different from other providers.” 

    Read their full success story to learn more about how the unique needs of journalists were heard by the Hearst Newspapers HR team, and how having a therapist on-site has changed their lives.

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