Low-Cost Mental Health Strategies That Yield Big Results for Company Revenue and Employee Happiness

Wellness services positively affect both your business's return on investment and your employees.

By Margo Jacquot

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The global pandemic has spawned astronomical increases in anxiety and depression that entrepreneurs cannot ignore. Now is the time for businesses to invest in services and resources related to mental health and wellness in order to continue thriving.

According to one CDC report, mental health conditions, substance use and suicidal ideation have all been on the rise since COVID-19 started, 31% reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, 26% are struggling with trauma, 13% started or increased chemical use and 11% seriously considered suicide.

Per the Wellable 2021 Employee Wellness Industry Trends Report: 88% of companies surveyed planned to invest in general mental health resources, closely followed by telemedicine (87%), stress management (81%), and mindfulness (69%).

Proactively investing in resources that address these concerns leads to lower costs over the long term, with an ROI to the tune of $4 for every dollar invested in mental health treatment.

Adding more time off to your benefits package

While fevers or physical ailments warrant Sick Days, Mental Health Days provide employees with time to step away from the natural pressures and frustrations of work and personal life. This additional break can have lasting benefits on a worker's morale and can lead to improved health, prevent burnout and increase productivity.

Indeed a recent study of 2,000 Americans, conducted by Theraflu, found that 58% of those polled avoided calling out sick from work for fear of being reprimanded by their employer.

For remote team members, the separation between work and home life has thinned, employees are also working longer hours and taking fewer vacation days. Your in-person workforce may also work harder to hide any anxiety, not wanting to be seen as unable to handle pressure.

Related: 20 Secrets to Living a Happier Life

Make Employee Assistance Programs more accessible

EAPs are work-based intervention programs created and designed to assist employees through personal problems that could be negatively impacting their ability to perform their job. These issues could be marital, financial, emotional, family-oriented or related to substance abuse.

EAPs are a popular option for workers because of their potential to reduce the direct costs associated with mental health treatment. On average, EAPs cost $12-40 per employee, which is less than 1% of the average per-person cost of health insurance.

If your company is not large enough to provide EAP, another option is to provide referrals and resource lists for employees to easily access.

Related: 4 Ways to Lead Your Organization Through the Omicron Surge

Lead by example

Simply offering the solutions and resources is not enough. You'll want to encourage and even incentivize employees to take advantage of them. Your own acknowledgment of the importance of caring for mental health will assure workers it's okay for them to do the same.

If you center your company culture around the care of those behind the business, they will be more encouraged to take care of themselves. They will live healthier and happier lives, which positively impacts the bottom line.

Related: Why Mental Health is Central to Your Business Continuity Plan

The study polled 2,000 employed Americans about the stress of taking time off work and found that 58% avoid calling out for fear of being reprimanded by their employer.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has Americans taking their health more seriously than ever, half of the respondents feel discouraged by their workplace to call out to take care of themselves when feeling under the weather.

This stress is felt even more so by Black and Latina women polled, who are 10% more likely than white women to say they avoid sick days for fear of being reprimanded.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Theraflu, the survey found 55% of respondents are required to give their managers a reason for calling out, of whom 66% feel like their bosses never believe that reason.

As a result, respondents have gone into work while under the weather an average of three times within the last year. Nearly three in five (58%) respondents even reported pushing themselves to clock in unless their symptoms are so severe, they can't get out of bed.

Margo Jacquot

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Owner/Chief Care Officer

Dr. Margo Jacquot is a licensed clinical psychologist who is owner and Chief Care Officer for The Juniper Center, one of the largest counseling and therapy practices serving IL and IN. She is also the owner of Therapy Practice Helpers, a full-service suite of back-of-house services for therapists.

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