Healing Our Body, Minds and Spirits: Addressing Mental Health Post-Pandemic

As life has returned to a typical pace after the pandemic, many employees are still dealing with emotional, physical and spiritual impacts from years of turmoil. In a new survey conducted by primary care provider One Medical, 64% of participants reported that workers are struggling with mental or behavioral health issues, but only 19% are using their mental health benefits to address the problem.   

The disparity between those experiencing mental health issues and those using their benefits can cause negative and broad-ranging effects on the workplace. A failure to address mental health issues can lead to high turnover and lost productivity—with 91% of employees reporting decreased productivity due to their mental state and 45% reporting a productivity loss of five or more hours each week.   

Here are three ways to support employees dealing with stress and burnout: 

1. Create an open and supportive environment. Experts say that employers must create a work environment where employees are comfortable expressing their mental health concerns and using the resources available to them. Companies have leaned on Employee Assistance Programs to help employees experiencing stress and burnout, but some employees are hesitant to voice mental health concerns to fellow employees from the same company. You can help by offering more options for counseling, outside support groups and other mental health services.   

2. Be flexible and offer choice in work conditions. What are employees trying to tell you about their work environment? Are they overwhelmed, burned out or lonely? Employees who work onsite may appreciate an occasional break from commuting into the office, so consider allowing them to work remotely one day a week or knock off early on a Friday once a month. Employees who work remotely may suffer from isolation and loneliness from a lack of social encounters. Encourage them to work together in person occasionally at a coffee shop or public space to help them feel more connected and energetic.  

3. Invest in innovative behavioral health solutions. Respondents to the One Medical survey indicated that employees are looking for simplified solutions for mental health services, especially because many are limited by time constraints and difficulty finding services. Employers that offer telehealth services or wellness centers where employees can easily and privately access mental and spiritual care can provide the comprehensive support employees need.   

For employers seeking innovative benefits solutions, the Vanderbilt Total Health (VTH) program addresses the unique population health challenges facing workforces of all shapes and sizes. VTH is a membership model that combines Vanderbilt University Medical Center's services and new programs, such as WellBeing and FlexCare, to provide a fast, convenient and personalized way to access health care. To learn how VTH can improve your organization's health and plan performance, contact us at (615) 421-0112.