- Employees around the country are being trained in “mental health first aid,” The Seattle Times reports. It's a relatively new training that aims to give workers tools to help others in crisis.
- Roughly 40 employers have trained more than 1,300 people during the last two years using a National Council for Behavioral Health course. Another 6,000 are expected to receive the training this year, the Times says.
- More than 25% of workers report some level of anxiety or depression, according to the American Psychological Association, but few seek help through employee assistance programs. This training aims to teach employees how to understand a problem and connect with a coworker to help them get the care they need.
Mental health remains an important piece of the overall employee wellness puzzle, but employers say they're unsure how to help workers with mental health issues. The problem is compounded by employees' fear of stigma or repercussions that may come with disclosing such an issue.
Employers have attempted to offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) that include benefits like counseling, crisis hotlines and even legal assistance. And while employers see health and productivity gains when workers use these programs, they still struggle to get employees into them in the first place. Some attribute that gap to a lack of knowledge about the programs; others say employees may remember that some EAPs were previously designed largely as drug addiction treatment programs.
Training everyone on a program's offerings — and asking all employees to be responsible for speaking up when a coworker needs help — may be yet another way employers can create a culture of wellness and get employees to take advantage of available benefits.