- Posted by Terri Storey, CEO & Co-Founder, Snapclarity
- On October 10, 2019
We’re in the midst of a mental health epidemic that continues to gain momentum – we see it in our home life and our work life. And, I know we can do better. That’s why I’m taking World Mental Health Day as an opportunity to talk about how we can transform mental health programs to proactively and more effectively support our employees.
We know that more and more organizations are making investments in mental healthcare, but the typical structure of a mental health program is designed to react to employees’ mental health problems – kicking in, for example when anxiety, depression or burnout is making it impossible to manage work and home life.
Too many organizations are missing the essential component for a successful employee mental health program: Early screening.
Early screening transforms employee mental health
It’s far too common for employees to wait until they’re nearing a crisis level to seek out mental health support — and then at that point they’re faced with long wait times, a disjointed system and difficulty accessing the right care, putting them at higher risk of a poor outcome.
The less costly and more effective approach is a proactive, connected mental health program that prioritizes the first step in every employees’ mental health journey: early screening using an on-demand, clinically-validated mental health assessment.
An assessment provides validated information to build awareness, but does not serve as a diagnosis. Before an employee is faced with a mental health problem, it can be used to create an actionable care plan that outlines:
- A person’s risk areas (i.e. anxiety, panic disorder)
- Preventative tools to consider (i.e. CBT guides)
- Life interventions (reduce use of alcohol)
- A match with the right specialized care (i.e. therapist)
- Potential medications to consider under the guidance of your physician
Knowledge empowers employees to take charge of their mental health — understanding their risks and what they can do to take better care of themselves. And, if they do need additional mental health support, they can be easily and properly matched with the right care provider and/or treatment in a timely way.
Early mental health screening is an essential risk management tool
Workplaces are at a higher risk than ever when it comes to employees’ mental health.
Here’s what we know:
- 1 in 5 people struggle with their mental health
- 43% of people could not access mental healthcare when they need it
- 2 of 3 of those struggling, don’t seek treatment
Good, validated data through early screening provides organizations with a fuller picture of their mental health risks. These insights can help you plan what specific supports and resources you need in place to proactively manage your employees’ mental health.
By incorporating an accessible early screening tool into the structure of your mental health program, you are lowering your organization’s vulnerability to poor mental health outcomes.
As a result, this proactive approach can effectively shorten the duration of absences, short-term disability, long-term disability and reduces overall drug costs tied to mental illness.
The first step to better mental health is awareness
As you evaluate the structure of your mental health program, ensure it includes an on-demand, clinically-validated early screening tool (and encourage your employees to use it). This will be foundational to providing connected mental healthcare that helps people achieve positive mental wellbeing and realize their full potential.
Terri Storey is the CEO and Co-Founder of Snapclarity, a technology start-up that is revolutionizing the workplace mental healthcare experience.
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