With the exception of earrings, scarves and, arguably, tube socks, one-size-fits-all rarely fits everyone. Many organizations are implementing long-overdue diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies—and a diverse workforce needs diverse mental health supports.
First, let’s look at how several common mental health benefits fit into a comprehensive health and wellness plan.
Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
An EFAP is typically the foundation of an organization’s benefit plan. This program has its roots in the late 1930s, as employers looked for ways to help people tackle alcohol abuse and, especially, its negative impact on job performance.
From a mental health perspective, most of today’s EFAPs cover counselling, psychiatry, and therapy appointments. Employees struggling with anything from depression to family challenges can receive coverage for their visits. Counselling is critically important; we should all connect with mental health professionals on a regular basis. Unfortunately, EFAP services typically have low utilization rates.
Counselling coverage can also be prohibitively expensive for many organizations – especially startups and small businesses. When employees do use this benefit consistently (as they should), companies may be forced to cut back on covered appointments. It’s a catch-22 that’s not good for anyone.
Mental health spending accounts
It’s no surprise that many organizations have bumped up these discretionary accounts in the past 18 months. And their flexibility is their greatest advantage. Whether people use the funds for new running shoes, online yoga classes, or a meditation app, choice is always a good thing.
Many employees, however, don’t know when or where to use their accounts. And while exercise equipment can definitely contribute to mental health, there’s a lot of open territory between lifting weights and seeing a psychiatrist.
Flex days and mental health breaks
In the last year, Nike, LinkedIn, Bumble, and Hootsuite have all shut down their offices for a week to give their teams a collective mental health break. As Matt Marrazzo, a senior manager at Nike wrote in a LinkedIn post: “It’s not just a ‘week off’ for the team… It’s an acknowledgment that we can prioritize mental health and still get work done.”
Kudos to these companies and their public acknowledgement of mental health – and what’s not to like about paid time off? Nothing, other than the (necessary) price tag for organizations. But what if the week off doesn’t align with an individual’s needs? Flex days are also helpful, but someone who’s experiencing serious or ongoing mental health issues might quickly use up their allotted days.
All of these benefits are necessary and important. They also have inherent limitations. That’s why many companies are looking for solutions that fill in the gaps, and easily adapt to their team’s changing needs.
We provide a low-cost, comprehensive mental health benefit that supports everyone on your team. To be clear, we do not replace the work of a licensed counsellor, but tools like our mobile app are available whenever and wherever your people need them, and our monthly programs, workshops, and insights are designed to address a wide variety of individual needs.
We also deliver proactive, versus reactive, mental health support. By the time an issue becomes an illness, people have to unravel a longstanding problem or chain of events. Sometimes this is inevitable – and everyone is unique. Yet, whenever possible, prevention can save both people and organizations a whole lot of time, money, and, most importantly, personal suffering.
Meet your people where they are
Organizations still need a combination of EFAPs, spending accounts, and responsive flex days or paid breaks. These programs are essential. CheckingIn fits seamlessly into your current benefit mix to enhance the support you’re already providing. For example, you can apply some or all of your learning and development budget to CheckingIn. We’ve done the legwork to find exceptional, expert speakers on 12 different monthly topics that tackle everything from healthy habits to organization strategies to dealing with change.
Fast & simple tools for diverse teams
Our four core values include simplicity, brevity, clarity, and trust. It takes just 30 seconds to do a quick check-in on our mobile app, then people can decide if they want to go deeper. Many HR pros are also looking for ways to juggle a growing list of priorities, including DEI, mental health, general HR practices, learning and development, and manager training. CheckingIn can help you to bring those pieces together, while supplementing your existing benefits plan.
To learn more or to request a demo, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to hear from you.