New tool helps employers assess how well they support mental health

The Northeast Business Group on Health has launched a new tool Thursday to help employers determine if their company is providing adequate mental wellness support to their staff.

The survey tool, called the Well Gauge, asks participants a series of questions divided into four sections: communicating a commitment to mental health, engaging leadership at all levels, demonstrating a commitment to mental health equity, and foster environments that promote overall health.

After answering the questions, participants will then receive a score out of 25 for each section and a total score out of 100. The score is a “an indication of how effective your organization is in creating a culture of mental wellness,” Amy Tippett-Stangler, senior vice president of the Northeast Business Group on Health, wrote in an email.

Participants will also receive a list of recommendations or action items outlining what they can do to improve mental wellness support in their organization. These action items can include requiring mental health training for managers, providing paid time off for mental health days, or taking employee suggestions through surveys.

“You can use the list of action items to help normalize mental health conversations, reduce mental health stigma, and incorporate strategies to create a culture of mental wellness,” Tippett-Stangler said. .

Well Gauge was created by a working group of 15 people over a period of 10 months. The team included senior benefits executives, clinicians and health sector stakeholders, according to a Press release.

The Northeast Business Group on Health tool comes as more employers look to bolster their mental health support for employees. A recent Willis Towers Watson survey of 455 employers found 67% are looking to make mental health and emotional well-being programs a top priority over the next three years. It also revealed that 88% of respondents have taken action on mental health in the past year, with some of their top strategies including coverage of behavioral telehealth services, provision of employee assistance programs and access to digital behavioral health support.

But while mental health benefits and programs are needed, companies need to do more for their employees, Tippett-Stangler said.

“Providing benefits coverage and offering mental health programs are essential — but not sufficient — to support employee well-being,” Tippett-Stangler said. “Creating inclusive environments where mental health is a priority, mental illness is de-stigmatized and employees feel valued as whole people is essential to building a healthy, productive and engaged.

Photo: SIphotography, Getty Images

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