Supporting employee mental health on a limited budget

employee mental health

Managing employee mental health is a constant challenge. Unfortunately, there is no one solution that will be that magic silver bullet to solve the issues of rising levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Organisations need to offer a variety of solutions and regularly revitalise mental health and well-being programmes. But budget and time constraints can affect what an organisation can deliver and the level of support that they can provide.

The big issues of tackling stigma and encouraging help seeking leave many struggling to enact change and see improvement. Encouraging employees who are experiencing mental health issues to seek help is important because they can then begin to make some positive changes. With 20-25% of the workforce experiencing a mental health issue at any given time, organisations need to do more.

Many organisations provide Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) support; however, research shows that:

50% of people with declining mental health, don’t or won’t seek help.

How can we encourage help seeking and reduce stigma?

There is evidence that people with mental health difficulties may not feel that they need help. They are often pessimistic about the effectiveness of treatment or receive poor care and may not understand how and where to get treatment. They may delay treatment or don’t fully undergo the treatment.

The most common barriers to seeking help are:

  • Difficulty in scheduling an appointment – long wait times, services under pressure
  • Not knowing where to get help – who to ask, what type of treatment to seek
  • Getting time off work – shortage of after-hours appointments
  • Leaders discouraging treatment – staff shortages
  • Stigma

The most common barriers to seeking help associated with stigma were:

  • Confidentiality – the fear that someone would find out that the person was receiving treatment
  • Negative career impact – the fear that by receiving treatment and key people coming to know about it at work would jeopardise their promotion opportunities
  • Judgement of co-workers – no longer being treated the same by colleagues.

The average Australian mental health stress claim costs $75,000 in workers compensation costs and requires 15 weeks off work. Investing to Save is a joint Mental Health Australia and KPMG  report that provides tangible options to delivering additional economic and productivity gains for businesses supporting workplace mental health. One of the recommendations includes the introduction of mental health wellbeing screening checks. Any employee who is screened to have heightened depression are immediately referred to a psychological service. This is an effective tool in increasing employee wellbeing and reducing lost work days.

Digital and mobile mental health applications have become a recognized delivery method for health and mental health communication and training. Using digital applications was recently noted in the KPMG report and recommended as a mainstream support service by the Australian Regulator, Safe Work Australia. Mobile health applications play an important role in supplementing and extending traditional delivery channels of mental health support, e.g. face-to-face counseling services, printed materials, presentations and lectures, and TV, radio, and movies.

Examples include:

  1. Provision of ‘virtual’ treatment to patients via who can’t easily access health care.
  2. Internet-based and telephone services that provide health information via text messages or phone calls.
  3. Websites that publish information on health and mental health.
  4. Wearable devices, e.g. fitness trackers.
  5. Apps that are downloaded to smart phones to provide health information and support, often linked to other resources and services available on the internet.

The list of health and mental health services via apps is growing and this delivery method is gaining significant global support mostly due to the 24/7 connectivity and immediate delivery of information. In addition, as technology improves, delivery methods of mobile health is accommodating consumers needs delivering information and support, via text, audio, images, video, games, artificial intelligence, etc.

Offer employees easily accessible self-screening tools and secondary prevention tools online and by digital applications.

The Tap Into Safety Mental Health Solution helps organisations to identify staff groups with mental health issues early on. It helps employees to identify heightened levels of stress, anxiety and depression. The training helps to increase mental health literacy by providing refresher training on workplace stressors that impact mental health and teaches practical coping strategies. The solution provides an alternative method of a non-confrontational way to encourage help seeking. Encouraging help seeking in the workplace is vital. It leads to early intervention and quicker recovery.

Quality mental health support with 24/7 access

Tap Into Safety has a new per use ‘credits’ pricing model which provides access to mental health training  for a low fee, with no lock in contract or  annual license. Once registered, employers  have access to predictive results that indicate trends in employee mental health. Early indicators in declining employee mental health can help to inform organisations where best to spread resources and target training and support.

Most importantly, once a business is registered on the Tap Into Safety Platform, employees can continue to access the help seeking features and support resources, at no charge to the business. Organisations only pay for the training and assessment modules that they use in their mental health and wellbeing campaigns and on-boarding activities.

At Tap Into Safety we believe that it is our civic duty to provide continued and uninterrupted access to resources and agencies when employees are seeking help and we encourage that activity in the Platform by providing our solution for use across all smart devices and online.

Tackling mental health decline and managing depressive symptoms is not solved in a one sized fits all approach. Organisations need to offer a variety of solutions and activities to encourage people who need help, to reach out and do so as early as possible. If you would like to know more about our Mental Health Solution contact us and try a FREE online demo today.

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