Instant Insights / Mental Health Awareness Month

Employee mental health is becoming an important issue for employers, and one of the ways to help workers is through their employee benefits packages. Here we look at trends, build awareness, and share ideas for benefits managers and brokers.


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Initiatives that employers are using to address mental health include encouraging open discussion and building a judgment-free culture, and partnering with an outside vendor to provide support. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The nation is experiencing a mental health crisis, including dealing with rising deaths from opioid abuse and suicide. Yet, not enough employers are taking steps to prevent more of these kinds of deaths within their workforce, according to Willis Towers Watson’s 2019 Emerging Trends in Health Care Survey.

Indeed, just 22 percent of employers currently have or plan to implement programs to address opioid use and suicide prevention in 2019, according to the survey of more than 500 U.S. employers. Encouragingly, an additional 23 percent are considering initiatives to prevent opioid abuse in 2020 or 2021, and 15 percent are considering programs to prevent suicide over the same time frame.

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.

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