October 10 marks World Mental Health Day across the globe, which is intended to raise awareness and mobilize efforts in support of mental health. Though the stigma surrounding mental health is still present in some places, that view has diminished significantly in the past decade as social, emotional, and psychological issues get the attention they deserve.
In the United States alone, 21% of individuals experience some form of mental illness, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). With stress, trauma, and other factors contributing to mental health conditions, it is more important than ever to spotlight this growing issue, especially when it comes to the health of your employees.
Types of Mental Health Disorders
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a mental disorder as a “clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotional regulation, or behavior.” It is typically associated with distress and can be debilitating if not diagnosed early and treated properly. In fact, 50% of all lifetime mental illness cases begins by age 14, and 75% by the age of 24,1 so recognizing the problem at its onset is imperative for symptom management.
Conditions considered mental health disorders include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorders (e.g., manic depression)
- Eating disorders
- Neurodevelopment disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The Effects of Mental Health Disorders
Of those with mental illness, less than 50% receive treatment, according to SAMHSA. Mental health disorders also can compound upon each other and lead to further illness, addiction, and even suicide.
As an example, for those who suffer from depression, which is the leading cause of disability worldwide, untreated it can lead to stress, dysfunction, and conditions worse than the depression itself, according to the WHO. In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that suicide was among the top nine leading causes of death in the U.S., so identifying the signs and symptoms of mental health illness as quickly as possible and determining a proper treatment plan is imperative for avoiding further impairment or even death.
If you know someone who needs help or is in crisis, you can call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. You can also chat at 988lifeline.org.
Partner with a Valued Employee Benefits Team
Throughout the year, employees may face stresses that exacerbate their mental health, such as decisions surrounding educational choices, holiday events, and medical decisions such as those at open enrollment time. Assessing types of coverage plans, their costs, and choosing the right plan can be an anxiety riddled process for some employees, which is where an employee benefits partner can help.
“A valued employee benefits partner is not only there for you during the open enrollment period but also is there for you throughout the year. At IOA, we provide a dedicated account manager for every client who employees can call to discuss their questions or concerns regarding benefits needs. This added touch point is not an option offered by most insurance brokerages,” said Amy Leonard, vice president, employee benefits services, at Insurance Office of America (IOA).
It is more important than ever to partner with an employee benefits broker that can assist you and your team members with a focused wellness plan to ensure you have the best options in place and are utilizing your benefits to the fullest. This allows your team to be protected properly and enjoy good mental health all year long.
With a rise in prescription drug costs, medical inflation, contracted insurance rates, and more, employers also are looking for ways to help their employees save on their medical costs, including through telehealth and other digital technologies. Outlining a comprehensive package that includes medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, offers significantly impactful benefits that are lower-cost to both the employer and employee.
Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you obtain the best protections for your business and your team.
- Kessler, R. C., Chiu, W. T., Demler, O., Merikangas, K. R., & Walters, E. E. (2005, June). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 617–627.