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Mental health awareness has been rising in the last few years, and this year has definitely put these discussions in the limelight. People are concerned about what ongoing lockdowns, quarantines, remote work, and winter weather are going to do to people’s mental and emotional states.

It’s little wonder that mental wellness tools have become more popular, and many employees are asking for them as part of their benefits plans.

That said, many employers and even some employees have concerns. Many of these concerns are unfounded, though, and employers should focus on ensuring everyone on their team has access to the mental health tools they need.

Mental Health Tools and Concerns about Privacy

One of the biggest concerns is the question of privacy. Some employers have been reluctant to adopt mental wellness apps or other supports because they’re worried it could be invasive.

After all, if a team member submits a claim for counselling or downloads an app, you’ll have a record of it in your benefits plan data. You might even have access to data from the app itself.

Employees may have similar concerns. If they download that app or schedule an appointment, will there be repercussions in the office? Mental health stigma still exists in many places, so they could be concerned that you’ll find a reason to let them go. They might wonder if this will jeopardize a raise or a promotion.

Some employees may worry you’ll have access to their private data. Apps may send information about sessions or use. There could be concerns about scheduling a counselling session via an employer-sponsored app. Will employers have access to the sessions that occur?

In reality, these concerns are largely unfounded. Mental wellness apps take privacy seriously, just as other apps for healthcare do. Your employees’ data is going to be protected, even from you.

What about the fear of stigma in the workplace? This can be more challenging to overcome. Offering supports is one step in the right direction. Reassure employees that their use of any tools is confidential and private, except in data that tells you how many times your team as a whole has made use of supports.

Mental Health Is Part of Health

Your company culture should be prepared to confront any biases or stigma as well. As mentioned, even offering supports is a step in the right direction.

Mental wellness is an important part of overall health. Employees who get colds are given supports to recover. The same should be true for team members who are concerned about their mental wellness.

You might even provide proactive tools to help team members manage their physical health better. Do you offer healthy lunch options or promote fitness classes? If you offer any supports in this vein, then offering mental wellness supports should be a simple step to adding the tools employees need to support their overall health.

Providing education can be important as well. This kind of training can aid employees in recognizing mental health issues in themselves or others. It can help managers and supervisors approach conversations without bias, so you can support your team members in improving their wellbeing.

Employees Want Mental Health Support

Many younger employees are highly aware of the role mental wellness plays in their life satisfaction and overall health. They’ve been pushing to break down barriers and stigma, and they’re advocating for more mental health support in workplaces.

They may advocate for specific mental health apps or wellness apps that are designed to help them focus on their overall wellbeing. A flexible benefits plan can help them gain access to the supports they want and need.

Are You Offering the Right Benefits?

Your employees are concerned about their mental wellness, and you know that offering them the right tools can help them stay healthy all around.

Are you providing the right mental health benefits? It could be time to take a dive into the data and discover what your team members really want from their benefits plans.

 

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Kaneez Jaffer

Kaneez is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) with an advanced knowledge of human resources and organizational structure and design. She has extensive experience with HRIS systems and understands the need to move HR from a transactional model to a transformational one. She has worked in the investment banking, insurance, and legal industries, as well as with large not-for-profit centres helping to simplify and streamline their internal systems. Kaneez is an expert in building relationships and affecting change in a positive and productive way. She acts as the key HR business partner at Apri Insurance Services Inc, managing the implementation of JungoHR, while providing expert advice and counsel on a range of HR matters. Kaneez holds a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management as well as a Certificate in HR Law for HR Professionals from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada.

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