Why Employers are Incorporating Telebehavioral Health into Broader Benefits Packages
The United States is in a mental health treatment crisis. One in five Americans is struggling with a behavioral health issue, but access to care is a serious issue. More than 110 million people live in areas where behavioral health services are severely limited, according to Mental Health America.
As the nationwide focus on mental health continues to grow, businesses are taking notice. According to Human Resource Management’s 2017 Employee Benefits Report, 81 percent of U.S. employers now offer mental health benefits. However, with extremely narrow provider networks and the national shortage of mental healthcare providers, it can still be difficult for employees to access care.
To address these issues, businesses have begun incorporating telebehavioral health solutions into their existing health benefits packages. By doing so, they’re providing much-needed, affordable care to employees and their families for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, relationship issues and other common mental health concerns.
While telebehavioral health provides important benefits to employees, the service is also advantageous for businesses, helping them save money, improve morale and productivity, and increase utilization of company benefits in a cost-effective, appropriate way.
Employers with a Healthy Workforce Save Money
Employers have realized the deep connection between a mentally and emotionally healthy workforce and the bottom line. A Harvard Medical School Study found that workers who received telephone intervention for depression were more likely to keep their jobs than those who did not. Moreover, the employees who sought help experienced an average productivity increase of almost three hours a week, equating to about $1,800 a year.
This is important, because even minimal productivity losses can impact a business’ bottom line. The Center for Prevention and Health Services estimated that mental illness and substance abuse issues cost employers between $79 and $105 billion each year in decreased productivity, absenteeism, and increased healthcare and disability costs.
With these costs in mind, businesses have begun investing in telebehavioral health benefits. What’s more, since mental health issues often lead to higher medical costs, businesses can reduce their medical and disability costs and reinvest them in the business.
Increase Employee Productivity, Loyalty
According to the Center for Prevention and Health Services, employees miss more work due to mental illness than other chronic health conditions such as arthritis, asthma, back pain, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Telebehavioral health provides a cost-effective, convenient solution for employees to address mental health issues that affect their day-to-day performance at work.
Access to therapy has been shown to have a significant impact on employees’ performance. Workplace Mental Health reports that 80 percent of employees who received treatment reported improved workplace productivity and satisfaction.
Remove Treatment Barriers, Increase Utilization
Telebehavioral health allows businesses to remove barriers that could impede an employee from seeking treatment. In a traditional setting, an employee may need to wait weeks (or even months) for an appointment, may need to take time off of work to drive to a therapist’s office, and then sit in a waiting room. With telebehavioral health, the employee can speak with a licensed behavioral health provider quickly, privately and conveniently, from a computer or mobile device, and from the privacy of their home.
The convenience factor is essential – easy access increases employee utilization of the service, which in turn increases ROI for the business.
To learn more about how telebehavioral health can help improve employee satisfaction and productivity while also building workplace morale, download our latest whitepaper.