The ROI of Mental Health

While measuring the ROI of physical workplace solutions like primary and acute care is challenging, tracking the ROI of mental health solutions is even more so. With onsite solutions, biometric data can help describe the overall health of an employee population and improvements in health can be directly tied to less sick days and decreased healthcare spending. But with mental health, vendors are relying on subjective data to determine the success and impact and are forced to track the intangible: the emotional health of a workforce.

According to a survey by Gallup, almost 63% of both female and male employees ages 18-29 say they struggle from mental health concerns, and 47% of those individuals report that their job has contributed to their negative mental health. Poor mental health impacts more than an employee’s productivity while they’re at the workplace; in fact, employees with fair or poor mental health miss an average of 12 workdays a year, compared to an average 2.5.

The estimated return on investment for employers who choose to invest in the mental health of their workplace is $5 for every $1 spent, according to a study by Deloitte. Providing solutions in the form of full-time, onsite therapists, platforms to help connect employees with resources, and an onsite presence who encourages conversations focused on mental health improves productivity, retention, morale and drives healthcare costs down. 

How does investing in mental health improve the ROI of an organization? 

Improves productivity. 

Investing in mental health can see improvements in productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism. According to a study by Modern Health, employees with unresolved depression see an average reduction of 35% in terms of how productive they are, which contributes to almost $210.5 billion dollars lost annually. Mental health resources can help employees tackle the symptoms that might be inhibiting them from bringing their whole selves to work, while also saving on costs. 

Attracts new talent and improves retention. 

A poll from the American Psychological Association has revealed that almost 81% of employees across a variety of companies would prefer to work for an organization that provides support for mental health concerns. Employers can use this sentiment to their advantage and incorporate resources to attract possible talent and encourage current employees to stay at the organization. 

Drives savings in healthcare related costs.

Through either onsite or digital investments in mental health resources, employers are saving healthcare costs by preventing mental health emergencies and redirecting care. Employees have access to care earlier on in their struggle, potentially reducing the severity of symptoms and avoiding critical claims. In addition, resources may be able to prevent symptoms and redirect and save in costs by providing internal solutions, at a cheaper price.

What does mental health at the workplace look like? 

Workplace mental health can take many forms, including having a full-time behavioral health counselor serve as a resource for employees. By bringing a counselor or therapist directly to the workplace, employees can be seen without taking time to travel to an external office and can pop in as needed if personal concerns arise. 

Mental health resources can also look like partnerships with platforms focused on connecting individuals to therapists and providing relevant resources. This tool could be utilized by companies that lack one central location and have dispersed, always on-the-go employees.

Vendor partnerships and onsite healthcare can also help employers tackle mental health. First, an onsite presence brings the concept of health and well-being to the front of mind for employees, forcing them to look inward and assess where they might be struggling. Secondly, an onsite presence can offer programs focused on addressing stressors contributing to an employee’s poor mental health. Programs can take the form of one-on-one guided sessions or group challenges, fostering a sense of community. Having an onsite offering, like a health center or health coach, helps make the concept of healthcare conversational and comfortable. 

Oftentimes employers say they want to focus on the health of their organization; but only focus on implementing physical health solutions like primary care services, biometric screenings, and immunizations. Taking a whole person approach to employee health means looking beyond their physical well-being and providing resources to improve their emotional, financial, and social health. By investing in mental health, employers will see a strong ROI while also improving their culture and creating a company where workers feel supported.