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Employers making employee mental health and wellbeing a top health priority, WTW survey finds

Number of employers offering designated mental health days could triple in next three years.

October 20, 2022

Health and Benefits|Benessere integrato

ARLINGTON, VA, October 20, 2022 — Two out of three U.S. employers (67%) plan to make employee mental health and emotional wellbeing programs and solutions one of their top three health priorities over the next three years. Additionally, the number of employers that intend to offer designated mental health days could triple from 9% currently to 30% in the next two years. That’s according to a survey by leading global advisory, broking and solutions company WTW (NASDAQ: WTW).

Nearly all survey respondents (88%) took measures to address workforce mental health needs this year. Telehealth increased dramatically during the pandemic, and tele-behavioral health services was the top strategy employers utilized to address employee mental health issues. Eight out of 10 employers (83%) offered tele-behavioral health this year, and another 9% are considering or planning offering it in the next two years. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are another critical component of employers’ wellbeing offerings. While virtually all employers offer traditional EAPs, seven in 10 (69%) provide dedicated onsite or virtual EAP resources. Additionally, one in four employers (24%) are planning to increase their EAP benefits in the next three years.

“COVID-19 took a terrible toll on employees’ lives, including substantially worsening mental health,” said Erin Terkoski Young, senior director for WTW’s Health, Equity & Wellbeing practice. “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.”

The survey of 455 U.S. employers revealed several emotional wellbeing strategies employers have in place or are planning or considering deploying in the next three years.

  • More than four in 10 employers (44%) currently provide manager training, such as general mental health awareness or identification and intervention training. Another 30% are planning or considering this training in the next two years.
  • Nearly four in 10 employers (38%) are partnering with employee resource groups to address population-specific mental health issues. Another 27% are planning or considering doing so.
  • Two-thirds of employers (68%) currently offer digital behavioral health support. An additional 16% are planning or considering providing access to digital behavioral health support in the next two years.
  • One in six employers (17%) are evaluating cultural competencies within the behavioral health provider network. Another 27% are planning or considering doing so.

“Employers are highly focused on supporting the mental health of their employees, especially as they look to retain and engage talent,” said Young. “Those that prioritize employee mental health and increase access to virtual and digital solutions will be uniquely positioned to improve their ability to deliver much-needed care.”

About the survey

A total of 455 U.S. employers participated in the 2022 Best Practices in Health Care Survey, which was conducted in August 2022. Respondents employ 8.2 million workers.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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