Mental wellness benefits: Top trends you should know now

Understand what’s behind the growing need for mental wellness benefits in the workplace – and how you can proactively support employees


What does an attractive employee benefits package include? Conventional wisdom says paid vacation, medical, dental, and a retirement plan. But we are not in conventional times.

As employees deal with unprecedented work and life stress, it’s clear that forward-thinking benefits offerings should include comprehensive support for mental wellness. To understand why, you must first recognize the trends feeding the growing need for mental wellness benefits at work. Here are the top trends we recommend you pay attention to now:

Most workers are burning out.

Three in four workers cite stress and burnout as their biggest mental health challenges.¹

Libby Erenson, VP of People at Spring Health, says burnout is a unique phenomenon because of how personal it can be. Watch for an explanation:

Even if work is not the primary source of their burnout, other stressors can show up at the workplace in the form of lost productivity and disengagement. Your mental wellness benefits should help employees find their right balance.

More employers are realizing they must take part in improving mental health.

Over half of employers agree that expanding their workforce’s use of mental and emotional health resources is a priority.²

As Americans quit their jobs in record numbers (4.5 million in November 2021 alone) and experience increased mental or emotional health problems as a result of the pandemic,3 it’s clear employers can’t afford NOT to implement strategies that address and improve mental health in the workplace. Daniel Harrah, National Director of Clinical Partnerships, Spring Health, says organization leaders can be trained to help steer employees in the right direction when they need access to care:

“I’m not training you to become a mental health clinician,” Harrah explains. “But I am training you to know where the mental health clinicians are, so you can encourage somebody to go talk to one. It’s not your job to fix the problem, or even really understand the problem, but it is your job to recognize and respond to that issue.”

For insights and discussion, register to watch our webinar “Mental Wellness and the Great Resignation: What employers need to know.”

Investing in mental health can yield positive returns.

For every dollar invested in depression and anxiety treatment, there is a return of $4 from improved health and the ability to work.⁴

That can be a significant return on investment for employees and for your business. Consider this: Our own internal claims analysis shows that as a percent of total disability claims, mental health-related claims have doubled in the past decade from 7 percent to 14 percent.5 What's more, employees experiencing mental distress use, on average, nearly $3,000 more in health care services per year than their peers.6

It’s true that more employers are beginning to prioritize mental and emotional health resources -- in fact, 90% of employers say behavioral health is a priority over the next three years.7 But clearly, more efforts are needed to close the workforce emotional health perception gap.  

For a more in-depth look at additional trends impacting workforce well-being, read our latest report “Mind, Body, and Wallet: Workforce well-being in the pandemic era.”

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