Recap of Employer-Only Sharing Call: Providing Comprehensive Mental Health Support Across the Globe

Explore effective mental health support strategies that emphasize cultural competence and equitable implementation across a global workforce.

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May 07, 2024

According to Business Group on Health’s 2024 Large Employer Health Care Strategy Survey,1 77% of employers reported an increase in mental health concerns among their workforces, making it more critical than ever for employers to effectively support mental well-being across diverse global operations. This employer-only event brought companies together to share insights and strategies when establishing and managing mental health programs that are both culturally competent and locally relevant. The discussion highlighted evolving Employee Assistance Program (EAP) models, the use of data in program development and the importance of cultural nuances in global implementations.

#1 Evolving Mental Health Support Models

Thirty-eight percent of surveyed participants on the call noted that a newer EAP model, in conjunction with other services such as on-site clinics, is included in their mental health strategy. Some employers are transitioning from traditional EAPs to more dynamic models that include a blend of on-site and virtual support options. For example, participants discussed transitioning to a newer EAP model in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region that includes telehealth services, resulting in increased utilization where traditional support was less accessible and greater use of global mental health apps. These apps provide customized support across different regions, considering local languages and cultural contexts. This evolution reflects a broader desire to develop mental health support systems that are both flexible and responsive to the changing dynamics of global work environments. However, challenges were noted, such as the cultural appropriateness of these models in different regions, emphasizing the need for tailored approaches that respect local nuances.

Modern EAPs: Connecting Employees to Better Care

A significant shift in EAP models is transforming the member experience. Employers on the call pointed out that traditional EAPs are typically telephonic based, where members call to receive a list of providers and are responsible for setting up their own appointments. In contrast, newer EAP models leverage technology to improve this experience, granting members access to a portal that seamlessly connects them to care. These models offer a strong focus on enhancing care quality through outcome measurement and using validated instruments to continuously assess and improve the quality of care. They also emphasize more granular reporting that goes beyond basic engagement (like website clicks).


#2 Data-Driven Mental Health Strategies

Data is critical in shaping mental health services for employees. Employers shared their experiences with data utilization to inform decisions and improve service delivery. Specific metrics tracked include EAP utilization rates, the number of one-on-one counseling sessions, diagnostic categories (dx) and engagement with preventive services. To hold vendors accountable for providing comprehensive data, employers request specific data-reporting requirements in contracts and regular reports that go beyond basic metrics. One significant challenge highlighted is the difficulty in obtaining granular data in locations with smaller headcounts, impacting the ability to make informed decisions. Employers are exploring innovative solutions to this challenge, including the development of robust, internal analytics platforms that are accessible and useful for local HR teams.

#3 Global Implementation and Cultural Nuance

Implementing global mental health programs requires effective vendor management and intentional consideration of cultural differences. Employers discussed their strategies for vendor selection and management, ensuring that vendors could meet the diverse needs of a global workforce. One approach involves recognizing cultural nuance by integrating local staff into the program development process to ensure that services are culturally appropriate. Additionally, the discussion emphasized the importance of vendors who can adapt to diverse cultural expectations and regulatory environments, which is crucial for multiregional employers.

Employers are also using storytelling and testimonials as part of their strategy to enhance engagement and illustrate the impact of mental health programs. By sharing real-life stories and experiences from employees, they aim to create a more relatable and supportive environment, encouraging others to utilize the available mental health resources.

Conclusion

The employer-only discussion provided a platform for employers to share valuable insights and strategies on advancing mental health support in the workplace. By discussing evolving models, data-driven strategies and the importance of cultural sensitivity, employers are better equipped to enhance their mental health initiatives. The shared experiences underscore the ongoing commitment to fostering a supportive environment for global workforces, emphasizing that continuous adaptation and collaboration are key to successful implementation.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. Why Should Employers Prioritize Nutrition as Part of Their Health and Well-being Strategy?
  3. If Nutrition Is So Important, Why Isn’t it More Broadly Embraced?
  4. What Strategies Are Employers Using to Elevate Nutrition as an Integral Part of Health and Well-being?
  5. What’s on the Horizon for Nutrition?
  6. Outlook