May is Health Awareness Month. As individuals, we should always take time to practice self-care and recognize signs of chronic stress. As employers, we have a responsibility to address the effects of stress and provide comprehensive care that truly supports all employees.
Mental Health and the Workplace
Stress in the workplace is not new. Research has long shown that workplace stressors have serious health impacts that go beyond the four walls of the office. Similarly, employees’ personal stresses also impact employers just as much.
One in 5 adults will experience mental illness, making it the leading cause of disability in the US. In fact, mental illness and substance abuse issues costs employers $79-$105 billion each year in reduced productivity, absenteeism, and increased health care costs. These impacts can be compounded for people living with chronic medical conditions – 60% of the US adult population. They have a higher risk of depression and illness-related anxiety and stress can trigger symptoms of depression.
As a fertility benefits provider, we know this is particularly true for those facing infertility. It’s a disease that now surpasses diabetes and breast cancer incidence rates as one in 8 couples is impacted.
No two fertility journeys are the same. They can be complex and are often stressful to navigate. Like many other diseases, the physical and financial strain causes enormous stress that employees can’t just leave at home. In fact, 55% of people believe that infertility is more stressful than unemployment and 61% of people believe that it is more stressful than divorce. A recent study reported that one of the top reasons insured patients discontinued IVF treatment was the psychological burden.
The Need for Comprehensive Care
Healthcare costs are projected to rise 5% for the sixth year in a row according to the National Business Group on Health. HR and benefits leaders are tasked with managing this increase in the workplace, but how do employers address stress and mental wellbeing?
Willis Towers Watson’s annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey found that employers are increasingly focused on providing a valuable benefits package. In a competitive job market, one of the ways to control costs is to improve employees’ total wellbeing. These include benefits that support overall health like:
- Flexible working arrangements
- Parental leave
- Diversity and inclusion initiatives
- Better health plan choices
These benefits align with a company culture that helps employees feel supported beyond traditional benefits.
A Supportive Solution
Progyny created a fertility and family building benefit program that does more than just provide access to the best clinical care. It acknowledges the need for support. Employees who have this support experience significantly less stress than individuals without.
With dedicated clinical and emotional assistance, patients are more educated about their options. They can pursue the most effective treatments that result in better clinical outcomes and a more efficient spend of employer dollars. The opportunity for both savings and employee retention is significant.
The workforce is changing, with a focus on employee wellness. Why aren’t more companies providing their employees with a benefit that includes a supported member experience?