Every business owner has witnessed the effects of behavioral health issues in the workplace. They drag down productivity and erode company culture. If left untreated, mental health concerns can even drive up medical costs.
To put a finer point on it, consider that presenteeism among employees with depression resulted in the equivalent of 32 lost workdays a year (Workplace Mental Health). As if that weren’t evidence enough, reports indicate that mental illness and substance abuse cost employers a staggering $79-$105 billion each year in lost productivity, absenteeism, and increased medical and disability costs (Center for Prevention and Health Services).
With such a significant impact on the bottom line, it’s no wonder that a full 81% of U.S. companies offer mental health benefits. Unfortunately, a national provider shortage, limited network choices and the stigma of seeking therapy are major roadblocks to care. Access issues are so severe that employees seeking treatment are likely to incur high out-of-pocket costs – even if they’re insured (Milliman).
Enter Telebehavioral Health
Telebehavioral health overcomes all of the barriers of traditional in-person care. It enables employees seeking treatment to connect with a provider in a matter of days – vs. weeks or months for an in-person visit – from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. What’s more, virtual care is a proven, effective model for treating depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health issues (Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness).
Teletherapy or Telepsychiatry?
A complete mental health benefits package includes both teletherapy and telepsychiatry services. Both serve a distinct purpose and address different mental health needs.
Therapy is typically the starting place for employees struggling with mental or emotional concerns. It is an excellent method for treating anxiety, depression, marital problems, trauma, burnout, and other common issues. Over the course of treatment, therapists help their clients work through their difficulties. This may include behavioral intervention, strengthening personal and professional boundaries, and making lifestyle changes to improve physical and mental wellbeing. It’s typically a therapist who will suggest psychiatry for patients who may need medication assistance.
Because psychiatrists are trained medical doctors, they can prescribe medications to alleviate patients’ mental health symptoms. They are also trained in talk therapy, psychosocial interventions, and other treatment methods, but medication as a course of treatment is the key differentiator of psychiatry. Since many common mood disorders are well-managed through medication, psychiatry is an important employee benefit.
Complete Mental Health Benefits
A robust benefits package gives employees access to both teletherapy and telepsychiatry services. Just like physical health, mental health concerns vary drastically in type and severity and require different treatment approaches. Therapy alone simply may not be sufficient for issues like chronic depression and anxiety. In fact, in such cases, therapy and psychiatry work hand-in-hand to manage patients’ symptoms and restore their quality of life.