The pandemic shined a spotlight on the mental health challenges that many workers face, and employers are responding.

Two-thirds of U.S. employers plan to make employee mental health and emotional wellbeing programs and solutions one of their top three health priorities over the next three years, a new survey by WTW finds. In addition, the number of employers that intend to offer designated mental health days could triple from 9% currently to 30% in the next two years.

“COVID-19 took a terrible toll on employees’ lives, including substantially worsening mental health,” says Erin Terkoski Young, senior director for WTW’s Health, Equity & Well-being practice. “Although the pandemic may have started to wane, mental health challenges persist. Taking mental health programs to the next level won’t be easy, but employers that succeed will see improvement in productivity, retention and engagement.”

Nearly 9 in 10 respondents took measures to address workforce mental health needs this year. Eighty-three percent of employers offered tele-behavioral health this year, and another 9% are considering it or planning to offer it in the next two years. Although nearly all employers offer traditional employee assistance programs, 7 in 10 provide dedicated onsite or virtual EAP resources. One-fourth of employers plan to increase their EAP benefits in the next three years.

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