Category Workplace Issues

Workplace Mental Health with Bob Boorstin

During last week’s Kennedy Forum, we had the opportunity sit down with the moderator of the “Getting into the Workplace – and Getting the Most Out of It” panel, Bob Boorstin. The former Director of Public Policy at Google and Clinton Administration official hosted a valuable discussion with panelists on learning to be comfortable and open with your mental health condition in the workplace. “There’s no question that sharing information about our mental health issues will be positive,” said Boorstin, who echoed his opinion in a short video interview after the panel.

An Interview with B...

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Are You Working While Ill?

baker-whiteMyths and Facts About Paid Sick Leave

Andy Baker-White, JD, MPH, Associate Director
The Network for Public Health Law – Mid-States Region
www.networkforphl.org

When you’re not feeling well, do you go to work? Many of us go to our workplace when we’re not feeling well because staying home can mean lost wages, increased workload, missed shifts or deadlines, and loss of momentum on projects. While legislation can’t help with most of that, some states and cities have moved to require employers to provide paid sick time to employees. Eliminating one worry – loss of pay – can entice people to stay home when sick, and thereby help to prevent people from getting sicker, infecting others, and adversely impacting the workplace. In today’s CFYM post, Andy Baker-White reveals truths and untruths about paid sick leave.

It can be difficult for many workers to stay home from work when they are sick. Those who do choose to stay home when sick often suffer lost wages and run the risk of being fired. In fact,

  • close to 40 percent of private-sector U.S. employees do not receive any sort of paid sick days
  • 11 percent of respondents to a 2008 survey by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center reported losing a job after taking time off from work for an illness
  • 13 percent in the same survey, said they were told they would be fired or suspended if they missed work because of illness

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How Can Mental Health Screening Help?

For more information on participating in National Depression Screening Day, please contact Michelle Holmberg at (781) 239-0071 or by email. Information is also available at mentalhealthscreening.org and helpyourselfhelpothers.org.

Screening for Mental Health

Do you think mental health screening can help address deficiencies in our nation’s approach to diagnosing and treating mood disorders? Policymakers certainly think so: mental health screening is an essential component of several pieces of legislation, incorporating the finding that early detection of mental health conditions increases the likelihood of successful treatment.

Mental health screening is private and anonymous, cost-effective, quick, and accessible, and it provides information and encouragement for people to seek help early. This Thursday is National Depression Screening Day, so there’s still time to rally your network to participate! Here, the nonprofit organization Screening for Mental Health tells why screening is important and how it supports workplace mental health.

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Two Stories of Consequences of Not Having Insurance through Work

On Tuesday, inspired by Labor Day, we looked at three mental health policy issues for employees. One of those was the declining number of people who have health insurance through their work.

What are the ramifications for people who do not have employer-sponsored health insurance?

Today, two members of the CFYM community describe their struggles to access mental health care services in the absence of employer-sponsored health insurance. After her health insurance through COBRA ran out, Janet faced the prospect of highly-restrictive coverage, then no coverage...

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Six Resources for Workplace Mental Health

young businessman under stress, fatigue and headacheIn this week’s posts, Clare Miller of Partnership for Workplace Mental Health outlined why employers should pay attention to mental health in the workplace and offered some examples for how businesses can address mental health with their employees.

Today we offer some other ideas, programs, and information sources for employers who want to address mental health in their workplace.

  1.  Cost of Mental Health Training is a free webinar for human resources and employee assistance program professionals from Families for Depression Awareness
  2. Families for Depression Awareness also participates in the Massachusetts Workplace Mental Health Initiative, which offers company-specific workplace mental health programs to Massachusetts businesses at no charge. These include the Coping with Stress and Depression workshop for employees, online mental health screening from Screening for Mental Health, and training for managers from CMG Associates
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Policy in Practice: How Companies Can Address Mental Health

Clare Miller

Clare Miller
Director, Partnership for Workplace Mental Health

Employers who seek to address mental health issues in the workplace have a daunting task. After all, a comprehensive mental health workplace program could include the following:

  • developing a mental health policy that complies with federal and state law
  • implementing an employee assistance program
  • training managers to recognize mental illness and make referrals
  • offering mental health wellness programs, such as stress reduction and mental health awareness trainings and mental health screening tools
  • supporting employees’ health care needs, including providing adequate health insurance and allowing treatment-related time off
  • addressing employees’ concerns about their co-workers, including providing support services in the event of a mental health-related emergency or death (e.g., attempted or completed suicide)
  • communicating with employees about mental health to allay their concerns about job loss, stigma, etc., and encourage them to get help

The good news is that there are a number of programs and resources to help employers address their workplace mental health needs. Today, we look at two companies that have successfully introduced mental health programs, and Clare Miller shares information about Right Direction, a new program from The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health and Employers Health.

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Good Business Cents: Mental Health in the Workplace

Clare Miller

Clare Miller
Director, Partnership for Workplace Mental Health

Organizations like the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health and Families for Depression Awareness have long advocated for employers to address mental health in the workplace, citing both visible (e.g., disability payments) and hidden (e.g., lost productivity) costs of depression among employees. As we have previously discussed on this blog, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that mental health care be included in health care coverage. As the ACA carries an affirmative obligation for certain employers  (50 or more employees) to provide health insurance, employers now have the opportunity to impact employees’ mental health broadly through proactive wellness programs and individually through their employee assistance plans and ultimately their health insurance programs.

In this post, Clare Miller explains the essential role of employers in advancing mental health and—even apart from the ACA—the critical reasons for employers to address the mental health needs of their employees.

Employers are an important constituency to engage in advancing mental health in the United States given their power in affecting how much and what kind of care employees and dependents actually receive. Indeed, about 157 million Americans receive coverage through employer-sponsored health insurance.

Employers are getting more involved in healthcare because many realize that employees are their most important asset—their human capital. They’re also focused on healthcare because it is such an enormous expense, as evidenced by the oft-quoted fact that General Motors spends more on healthcare than on steel.

Many employers realize that they can use their purchasing dollars to leverage the healthcare system to demand better quality. And demanding it they are; employers are pushing strategies such as value-based purchasing and outcomes-based contracting. They are aligning incentives to produce better outcomes, as in the case of value-based benefit designs, where copayments might be lowered or eliminated to encourage people to access care and services to manage chronic illnesses.

One of the first examples of this approach was focused on diabetes management. A large employer eliminated the copayments associated with diabetes medication after realizing that high cost-sharing was leading workers to forgo medication, which led to increased hospitalization costs. In response, the employer aligned incentives to be sure that workers could afford the treatment to appropriately manage their condition. Importantly, they married this strategy with others, such as patient education about diabetes management.

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