67% of employers will make mental health top priority, survey says

Over the next three years, 67 percent of U.S. employers plan to make employee mental health and emotional well-being programs and solutions one of their top three priorities.

Additionally, the number of employers that intend to offer designated mental health days could triple from the current rate of 9 percent to 30 percent in the next two years, according to an Oct. 20 report from global advisory firm WTW.

According to the report, 88 percent of employers took measures to address workforce mental health needs this year. Telehealth was one of the leading strategies employers used to address employee mental health, with 83 percent of employers offering tele-behavioral health in 2022 and another 9 percent considering it within the next two years. Furthermore, 69 percent of employers offer dedicated, onsite, or virtual employee assistance resources, and 24 percent reported that they plan to increase their employee assistance benefits over the next three years.

"COVID-19 took a terrible toll on employees' lives, including substantially worsening mental health. Although the pandemic may have started to wane, mental health challenges persist. Taking mental health programs to the next level won't be easy, but employers that succeed will see improvement in productivity, retention and engagement," said Erin Young, senior director of WTW's health, equity, and wellbeing practice.

Additional findings from the report:

  • Forty-four percent of employers currently provide general mental health awareness training to managers, and another 30 percent are considering similar training in the next two years.
  • Thirty-eight percent are partnering with employee resource groups to address population-specific mental health, and another 27 percent are planning similar measures.
  • Sixty-eight percent currently offer digital behavioral health support, and an additional 16 percent plan similar support within two years.
  • Seventeen percent evaluate cultural competencies within the behavioral health provider network, with another 27 percent planning similar actions.

A total of 455 U.S. employers participated in the survey, and employ more than 8.2 million workers, according to the release.

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