Side view of a business person working on laptop with EMPLOYEE BENEFITS inscription, modern business concept

For the better part of the last three decades, companies have had to rely on the strength of their benefits packages to compete for talent. In industries where salaries and job descriptions are similar among employers, benefits can be a demarcation point. That means employers need to give workers what they want and expect. These days, this includes mental health benefits. 

Mental health benefits can be offered through employee assistance programs (EAPs) or as independent services. The former tends to be free to employees while independent services are accessed by workers on an as-needed basis, at a lower cost thanks to group pricing. 

The most important takeaway here is that employees are looking to their employers for help in the mental health realm. Data taken from a recent survey about 2023 benefits proves as much. The data shows that 81% of U.S. employees believe their employers have a responsibility to provide mental health benefits. 


A Mental Health Crisis Among Workers 

So why do the vast majority of employees look to their employers for assistance in maintaining good mental health? There could be any number of reasons, including the possibility that our society is facing a mental health crisis. In the workplace, potential mental health issues can be exacerbated by stress, fears of illness, financial troubles, and a lack of that coveted work-life balance. 

In days past, workers did not view their relationships with their employers the same way those relationships are viewed today. Modern employees expect a lot more from their employers than past generations. Whether or not such expectations are appropriate, it is hard to argue the fact that workers give at least a third of their waking hours to their employers. 

Working is the single largest activity to which people give time. Indeed, many workers spend more time with their fellow employees than they do with their own families. So it stands to reason that they would have certain expectations of their employers. Those expectations include mental health benefits more often than not. 


More Creativity Is in Order 

At BenefitMall in Dallas, benefits experts encourage insurance brokers to be more creative about helping employers come up with a good selection of mental health benefits. BenefitMall says such benefits can be offered on a voluntary basis. When offered through an EAP, mental health benefits often include:  

  • free counseling services 24/7 
  • mental health referrals 
  • information and education 
  • digital mental health tools. 

A good area for brokers to concentrate on are the digital tools. We live in a digital world, a world through which the workforce seems to be looking to access more and more of what they need. 

Brokers are in the midst of embracing the digital transformation themselves. So tying that pursuit in with looking around for digital mental health benefits seems like a perfect fit. One way or another though, brokers stand to do a much better job serving their clients by emphasizing mental health benefits. 


A Standard Benefit Moving Forward 

There are questions of whether mental health benefits will constitute a standard benefit going forward. By all accounts, they will. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to the current mental health crisis modern culture is being defined by. More importantly, it is hard to imagine mental health benefits going by the wayside once they become embedded in the culture. 

The truth is that employees want mental health benefits. If employers hope to compete for the top talent in their industries, they have little choice but to get on board. That is just the way it is.