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The conversation around mental health in the workplace has gained momentum in recent years. About one in five Americans (22.8%) experienced mental illness in 2021. Over a quarter of workers cited mental health issues as the most significant reason for leaving a job. Top concerns included stress (55%), depression (38%), lack of motivation (37%), anxiety (36%), anger (31%), and burnout (28%). Over one-half of the workers felt their mental health was affecting their work.  

Employers are increasingly recognizing the importance of supporting the overall well-being of their employees. A healthy workforce is essential for productivity, morale, and overall success. This Mental Health Awareness month, let’s explore the critical role that mental health benefits and support play in the workplace, why they matter, and how employers can effectively implement them.  

The Importance of Mental Health Benefits 

Mental health is a fundamental aspect of overall well-being, yet it is often overlooked or stigmatized in the workplace. Employees’ mental health significantly impacts their performance, job satisfaction, and ability to thrive in their roles. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other conditions can lead to absenteeism, presenteeism, decreased motivation, and strained relationships with colleagues. 

By prioritizing employee well-being, employers not only demonstrate their commitment to their employees’ well-being but also create a positive and inclusive organizational culture. When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and loyal to their employers. 

The Benefits of Supporting Employees’ Overall Health

Investing in comprehensive benefits and support programs yields numerous benefits for both employees and employers. 

  • Improved Employee Well-being: Mental health benefits provide employees with access to resources such as counseling, therapy, and support groups. These resources help them address and manage mental and behavioral health challenges. 
  • Increased Productivity: When employees’ needs are met, they are better equipped to focus on their work. This contributes to increased productivity and performance. 
  • Reduced Absenteeism and Presenteeism: Employers can mitigate absenteeism and presenteeism by offering effective mental health benefits and cultivating a supportive and inclusive workplace culture. The cost of providing robust benefits is often less than the savings associated with lost productivity and increased healthcare expenses. 
  • Enhanced Employee Morale and Engagement: A supportive workplace environment that prioritizes mental health fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty among employees. This leads to higher morale and engagement levels. 
  • Attraction and Retention of Talent: In today’s competitive job market, offering comprehensive mental health benefits can be a significant differentiator for employers, attracting top talent and improving employee retention rates. In fact, 81% of American Psychological Association (APA) survey respondents said that mental health services coverage and support is an important consideration when looking for a new job.  
  • Legal and Ethical Compliance: Providing robust benefits aligns with legal requirements like the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and ethical standards related to workplace safety, protecting employers from potential liabilities. The Alliance hosted a webinar series about the MHPAEA and how it affects employers. You can get a recap of the MHPAEA here. Get insights on the proposed upcoming regulations to the MHPAEA here.  

Considerations for Implementing Mental Health Benefits 

Implementing effective benefits and support programs requires a strategic, thoughtful approach.  

  • Promote Awareness: Educate employees about the importance of mental health. Reduce stigma through training sessions, workshops, and communication campaigns. Ensure your communications are well-received by carefully planning what, when, and how you will convey information. Tailor your approach to fit the preferences of your employees. Utilize mediums such as physical mail, flyers, in-person meetings, intranet platforms, or mobile apps based on their preferences.  
  • Offer Comprehensive Benefits Packages: Provide access to a range of services, including counseling, therapy, psychiatry, and employee assistance programs (EAPs). Consider partnering with additional providers and organizations to ensure quality and accessibility. Some employers are expanding access to care through company-sponsored onsite or nearby clinics. Others are addressing this by integrating virtual providers into their health plans. Additionally, employers are broadening access to mental and emotional support by providing online resources like apps and on-demand videos. 
  • Create a Supportive Work Environment: Foster a culture of open communication, empathy, and respect where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns without fear of judgment or reprisal. This starts with leadership. Make sure leaders in the organization are understanding and open about what they do to stay happy and healthy. Equip managers with the skills to recognize mental distress, provide appropriate support, and refer employees to resources when needed. 
  • Provide Flexible Work Arrangements: Offer flexible scheduling, remote work options, and accommodations for employees managing mental health conditions to help them effectively balance work and self-care. This also promotes healthy work-life balance, increasing productivity and job satisfaction.  
  • Monitor and Evaluate Programs: Regularly assess the effectiveness of your benefits and support initiatives through employee feedback, surveys, and utilization data. Make adjustments as needed to meet the evolving needs of the workforce. 

Prioritizing Employee Well-Being for Business Success 

Prioritizing comprehensive benefits and support in the workplace is not only the right thing to do but also a smart business decision. By investing in employee well-being, employers can create a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce. 

As we continue to navigate the complexities of the modern work environment, let’s remember that mental health matters. Together, we can build workplaces where everyone feels supported, valued, and empowered to thrive. 

Reach out to your Account Executive to learn more about how The Alliance can help you design a benefit plan that supports your employees’ mental and emotional wellness.  


Benefit Plan Design Health & Wellness Self-Funding


Members & Employers


Benefit Plan Design Health & Wellness Self-Funding


Members & Employers
Natalie Gardner

Natalie Gardner
Marketing Content Specialist

Natalie Gardner joined The Alliance in 2022 as a Content Marketing Specialist. Previously, she served as a Marketing Communications Specialist for a medical device contract manufacturer. Her experience includes academic and professional research. Natalie earned her bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing and Communication from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

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