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The link between mental health and productivity in the workplace

Addressing the growing mental health crisis by offering comprehensive solutions will support employee wellbeing.

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A quarter of U.S. workers are at high risk of mental health issues.
Employers can access personalized resources to effectively prioritize the health of the workforce.
The right solutions should offer customized support and easy access.

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How can employers enhance total wellbeing of employees and their families?

How would you assess your current mental health, ranking it on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 indicating a state of crisis and 10 representing optimal well-being?

It’s probable that a majority of individuals wouldn’t place themselves at the highest end of this scale.

Dr. Matthew Chow, Psychiatrist and Chief Mental Health Officer at TELUS Health, observes an increase in burnout levels and the adoption of unhealthy coping mechanisms. In the workplace, this trend translates into elevated absenteeism and “presenteeism,” where individuals come to work but struggle to operate efficiently.

Recognizing the impact on productivity and profitability, most employers are redirecting attention and resources toward employee mental health.

According to the recent TELUS Health Mental Health Index, nearly a quarter (23%) of U.S. workers are at high risk of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or addiction, while 41% are at moderate risk.

These statistics carry explicit negative implications for the individuals affected. However, the consequences extend beyond the personal realm to encompass employers and society at large if not managed properly.

Dr. Chow emphasizes, “Our research indicates that workers who rate their mental health poorly exhibit work productivity scores more than 39 points below the national average. Innovative solutions are imperative to address our growing mental health crisis, offering employers an opportunity to cultivate a more robust, healthier workforce, ultimately enhancing overall well-being nationwide.”

Supporting employee health is not just a moral imperative but a crucial factor for business success.

The silver lining lies in the fact that employers are well-positioned to assume a pivotal role in bolstering employee health. The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that employees desire employers to exemplify healthy work-life boundaries and anticipate their support in safeguarding well-being. A significant 62% of American workers consider well-being support a key factor when considering a new job.

Furthermore, employers can access valuable and personalized resources to effectively prioritize the health and well-being of their workforce.

As a globally recognized leader in health and well-being, TELUS Health partners with organizations worldwide to enhance the overall well-being of employees and their families. Offering services that address physical, financial, and mental health, TELUS Health entered the health care space 15 years ago, acquiring LifeWorks in 2022 to broaden its portfolio and better serve employers.

However, supporting mental health poses challenges for employers, particularly in selecting effective employee well-being tools. The right solutions should offer customized support and easy access, recognizing the varying mental health needs of individual employees.

Paula Allen, Global Leader, Research & Client Insights at TELUS Health, emphasizes the importance of a continuum of care, ensuring that every person has access to the right type and level of care. Fragmentation in counseling, behavioral health services, and medical reimbursement creates confusion and gaps in support. Addressing this fragmentation improves service, adoption, and health outcomes.

In response to these challenges, TELUS Health provides a comprehensive solution for employers seeking to support total well-being across the continuum of care. Total Mental Health, their innovative workplace mental health solution, offers employees immediate, unlimited, and continuous counseling available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Dr. Chow highlights the importance of continuous counseling designed to be accessed in various formats—whether in-person, virtually, over the phone, or through chat. The personalization is further enhanced by “care navigators” available to employees day or night, ensuring they have a personalized care plan and facilitating access to other clinicians and services.

Leveraging the strength of its team and technology, TELUS Health covers 67 million lives in over 160 countries, providing care and support efficiently and effectively. Dr. Chow concludes, “Our services and programs ensure employees and their families get the care and support they need, when they need it, in the most efficient way.”

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