Mental illnesses affect people during their prime working years and cause more days of work loss and work impairment than any other chronic health conditions, including arthritis, asthma, back pain, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Cognizant of the connection between employee health, work performance and productivity, many leading employers take an active role in the management of health programs for their employees and families, including in the area of mental health.
Employers can play a powerful role in the way in which mental health is addressed at the workplace. Millions of Americans receive their health insurance through employer-sponsored benefits, and employers use that purchasing power to drive change in the healthcare system. Indeed, many of the features of the Affordable Care Act have their roots in employer initiatives, including, for example, the emphasis on paying for quality and performance, and value-based health design that fully covers preventive services.
These are the key reasons why the Foundation, through its Partnership for Workplace Mental Health program, has collaborated with employers for the past ten years to advance mental health at the workplace.
Right Direction is a worksite education program focused on depression that provides employers with tools to conduct education about depression. This program is a collaboration between the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health and Employers Health, a national employer coalition based in Ohio.
Through a collaboration with Mental Health America of California, Wellness Works! program provides education modules for managers across the state of California aimed at reducing stigma and support of early intervention for employees who face mental health challenges.
Mental Health Works is the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health’s signature quarterly publication sent to 50,000 employers, Capitol Hill, psychiatrists and related healthcare purchasing stakeholders. Each issue features a different company’s approach to addressing mental health.
Additionally, the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health program runs other initiatives to work with businesses to ensure that employees and their families living with mental illness, including substance use disorders, receive effective care. The program educates employers about the business case for investing in mental health, including increased productivity and decreased absenteeism and disability costs; highlights corporate case examples of strategies that improve mental health; and provides tools and resources to build employer capacity to take meaningful action.