Mental Health In The Workplace: Employee Expectations Are Evolving

Apr 16,2024

Read Time 3 Minutes

In an era where workplace well-being is no longer a buzzword but a business imperative, employees' expectations for comprehensive mental health support have evolved. More than just a perk, multilevel mental health support is now considered one of the secret ingredients to a thriving, resilient, and engaged workforce.

According to a recent study, 92% of workers said it’s important for employers to value their emotional and psychological well-being. While this includes considerations like workloads and work schedules, employees also expect resources to help actively manage their lives outside of work, too.


Understand The Levels Of Support Employees Need


Mental health support is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Each employee may need a different level of mental or behavioral healthcare, so it’s important for employers to understand the following terminology when evaluating their employee offerings.


  • Low-acuity issues require lesser-intensity services or a lower level of care, and often result in lower-cost claims. They are typically resolved in a shorter timeframe. An example might be a series of telehealth counseling appointments to help an employee cope with a stressful life event.

  • Acute issues have a mid-range timeline and frequently involve additional levels of support, such as a brief period of medication in addition to telehealth appointments or counseling. These issues may be temporary if they are treated and managed properly.

  • Comorbid issues involve an acute or long-term mental health issue accompanied by a simultaneous physical health concern. The mental health component of a comorbid issue may be developed or heightened by the physical one. 

  • High-acuity issues are long-spanning mental health concerns. These issues may be inherited, develop over time, or are created as a result of a particular life event, and often become an ongoing part of a person’s health journey. Treatment may involve high-intensity care, as seen with substance use disorders (SUD) or suicide risk.


As you evaluate your employees’ mental health resources, it’s important to make sure you have options for every level of acuity. This can help them be prepared for whatever challenges come their way.


Choose The Right Program For Every Level Of Support


Increasing your available resources to address mental health concerns is now both achievable and simpler than ever. Health partners like Anthem offer programs that consider an employer’s full breadth of needs. Through solutions with multilevel support options, you have access to a range of programs to better support your employee population.


  • Behavioral health coverage can be a key part of an employer’s benefits package and is often required coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Behavioral health coverage includes base offerings like case management in addition to more accelerated programs dedicated to high-acuity issues like SUD.

  • Emotional Well-being Resources is an online offering providing cognitive behavioral therapy and self-service emotional health resources. Emotional Well-being Resources addresses low-acuity needs and helps employees build long-term resilience from the comfort and convenience of home. 

  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are an employer buy-up, and they can be tailored to fit different budgets. EAPs offer a wide array of mental and behavioral health support to carry employees through various life challenges. Employees who use their employer’s EAP services can often resolve concerns before they escalate into larger issues.

  • Dedicated Family Advocates or other concierge-type programs deliver the highest level of personalized care. Family Advocates serve as the single point of contact for an employee’s health needs and collaborate with comprehensive clinical teams ranging from oncology to behavioral health to palliative care for high-touch, coordinated care.


New policies require employers to integrate mental health support into the workplace, but needs and expectations around support don’t end there. Competitive employers go above and beyond to create a healthier work environment providing whole-person support. The positive effects go beyond productivity to include better engagement, more creativity, better focus, and strong business outcomes.


Through a tailored, whole-person approach to mental health, you can help employees improve their well-being in ways that are easier to access, simpler to use, and ultimately provide cost savings for both employers and employees.