How Mental Health Impacts Productivity and Performance
Mental health factors like stress, anxiety and depression contribute to disabilities, productivity losses and absences. Physical wellbeing and mental health are intertwined, therefore, both are necessary for recovery from injury and illness. In this session at the 2016 National Workers’ Compensation & Disability Conference, presenters discussed current research related to the topic and provided examples on how to help employees remain productive by addressing mental-health challenges.
- Scott Daniels, Director of Disability Global Benefits at Comcast
- Hilary Mitchell, Director of Employee Health Services at Pitney Bowes
- Kimberly George, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, M&A and Healthcare at Sedgwick
The Research Shows:
- Mental health accounts for $179 billion in healthcare costs.
- 18% of adults have one or more anxiety disorder, such as stress, in any given year.
- Mental health is one of the top-three reasons for employee absences.
- Employees are two-to-six times more likely to have an workers’ compensation claim if they are suffering from stress.
Comcast Case Study:
Comcast’s approach to behavioral health was less about generating claims ROI and more about the employee experience. They took a look at the different stressors that their employees encounter, which are very different based on different divisions of the company that can range from cable to theme parks. Finally, they found a direct correlation between employee health and the customer experience. With customer service at the forefront of their corporate goals, they knew they needed a change.
Once Comcast analyzed claims trends, they knew they had a problem. Mental health was driving the majority of their disability claims. Upon review, they found employees were receiving inadequate treatment (employees were not receiving access to the right specialists), incomplete clinical information was creating a negative experience, they were lacking return-to-work goals and employees were receiving delayed referrals.
They were able to facilitate faster return to good health and return to work through four major strategies:
- Made a behavioral health specialist a requirement if an employee was going to file a disability claim.
- Covered co-pay costs to behavioral health specialist to remove barriers to treatment.
- Heavily leveraged their EAP partners to assist with the claims process and help the providers quickly complete paperwork.
- Provided free sessions through EAP partners for employees and family members while they are going through the claims process.
Pitney Bowes Case Study:
As a mail machine company, Pitney Bowes’ work has changed over the years due to technological advances. Factory workers saw their work declining, tech workers saw their work increasing. As innovation came to Pitney Bowes, they realized that their employee population had changed, therefore, their mental-health delivery methods needed to change. Mental health was the top reason for their long-term disability claims.
As a result, they created a multi-prong approach where mental health was integrated into their healthy rewards programs, treatment programs and on-site resources like nutritionists and clinicians.
- They created five free employee clinics staffed with nurse practitioners and onsite EAP. They found that their highest uses of EAP is at the locations that have on-site offerings.
- Offered onsite/offsite psychologists available for executive management use.
- Provided an in-house disability department to address joint review of mental health/substance claims and to provide depression screening questions at claim intake.
- Offered a facilitated telephonic-guided meditation program.
- Provided online resilience training to improve outcomes in stress management and well being.