Providing greater access to mental health care and benefits is only one part of the equation. What can employers do to reduce stigma in the workplace so that their employees feel safe and comfortable to ask for help?

Today's subject matter expert

Johnny Li
Client Growth and Strategy Leader, Hong Kong

Companies are upping the mental healthcare game but the uptake of corporate mental health wellness programs across Asia is still low. Mental illness and disorders remain largely misunderstood, with a lack of resources and communication regarding treatment and prevention for people with mental health difficulties to seek help.


While there are many tools and technologies out there to address mental wellness, reducing the stigma around mental health in the workplace is the first step every employer must take.


1)      Providing the right training and tools


Employers can begin with anti-stigma campaigns via manager training, supported by tools that provide employees with access to the right level of care. With appropriate training and tools, managers will be able to pick up early warning signs and also make it easier for their people to share their challenges. 


When it comes to finding the right solution, employers need to be mindful of the approach. For instance, some of our clients partnered with wellness companies and non-profit organizations to organize events to encourage employees to overcome misperceptions about mental health and promote the support that is available to them, only to find very few of them actually turning up to the sessions.


2)      Offering support from intervention to recovery


With the stigma around mental health, employees are already finding it difficult to step forward and seek help. This is why offering emotional support and greater access to treat mental health conditions, in the form of benefits, is becoming more essential than ever.


Employers should also ensure that mental health solutions provided cover the full mental health continuum, from early intervention (through Employee Assistance Programs), treatment (psychological and psychiatric) to recovery (facilitating their return to work). This would give employees the confidence they need to recognize that mental health issues are in fact, treatable with the proper support.


3)      Taking a digital-first approach


COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital technology in the workplace. Our 2021 report on a digital-first approach to benefits showed that 76% of organizations spent more on HR tech during the pandemic. We observed some companies turning to emerging mental health and wellbeing solutions in the market where engagements such as coaching sessions and clinical support sessions are being delivered via mobile applications.


By leveraging best-in-class technology to manage and pivot their benefits offering quickly, companies can demonstrate both their investment and commitment to reduce stigma and make a difference in their employees’ health and well-being.


The pandemic has brought about isolation, uncertainty and anxiety for employees, straining their overall mental wellbeing. Thus, it is vital for employers to destigmatize mental health so that their employees feel safe and comfortable to ask for help.


Get in touch with us today and start creating a supportive environment to improve the well-being of your workforce. 

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