The topic of mental health is having a major moment – at home and in the workplace. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, employers were just beginning to address mental health, but a global pandemic placed these issues at the forefront for organizations worldwide. 76% of respondents in a 2021 Mind Share Partners Mental Health at Work Report revealed at least one symptom of a mental health condition, which means mental health struggles are incredibly prevalent, whether organizations choose to address them or not. Fortunately, other statistics reveal businesses are taking employee mental health seriously; 39% of employers in a Kaiser Permanente study reported adding mental health services and benefits since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seeing statistics like these, I knew putting a mental health program would be important to support our employees as we arise post pandemic. As a parent to a child with anxiety, I also want U.S. Legal Support to be at the forefront of destigmatizing mental health and creating a safe environment at work for those suffering from mental health challenges.
About the “Ignite Your Mental Fitness” Initiative
Post-covid, as we began to see more and more people go on leave and have accommodations for mental health reasons, the HR team thought, “We really need to think about having a mental health program.” So, we started a program called “Ignite Your Mental Fitness” to tie into our larger, “Ignite Us” employee engagement program.
The program entails a monthly topic, session, or event for employees that focuses exclusively on mental health and mental health resources. Each quarter, we strive to do one educational event, one fact-based awareness item, and one in-person event. Since the start of the program in April of 2022, we’ve done the following events, to great success:
For the remainder of 2022, we have events and awareness activities around Financial Fitness (August), Suicide Prevention Month (September), World Mental Health Day (October), and a virtual yoga event for employees coming in July and November. The U.S. Legal Support Human Resources team is also already planning for 2023 and I’m excited to keep expanding the mental health program more in the years ahead.
Additional Mental Health Support for U.S. Legal Support Employees
In a McKinsey & Co. study, 67% of those with mental health issues reported it was difficult to access care. And, honestly, this statistic breaks my heart. At U.S. Legal Support, we have a traditional employee benefits program that includes mental health coverage. What many employees may be surprised to learn, however, is through our benefits plan is a partnership with MDLIVE, in which U.S. Legal Support employees can quickly and easily schedule virtual counseling appointments.
For those nervous about reaching out for mental health help, virtual counseling sessions eliminate much of the “friction” surrounding counseling. You’re able to do it from the comfort of your own home via phone or laptop, and you don’t have to worry about traffic, parking, or scheduling extra time away from work. It really is as simple as using the MDLive website or phone app to book an appointment and get the help you need.
The Future of Mental Health Support at U.S. Legal Support
Earlier in my career, long-term leaves would typically be for cancer, or other dastardly diseases. Post-Covid, and within the industry, I am seeing a lot more accommodations for anxiety or other mental health related reasons. Within U.S. Legal Support, we are also seeing a rising trend of leaves for mental health reasons, and industry statistics show it isn’t just within legal services: in the same Mind Share Partners report, 50% of respondents stated they’d left work for mental health reasons.
Fortunately, even with the rise in medical leaves, our wellness and employee-centric programs are working as our retention rates have never been lower.
As Chief Human Resources officer for U.S. Legal Support, my imperative is asking how we can connect the human side of the person to the business side. I believe by nurturing all aspects of our employee’s well-being, especially their mental health, we create a stronger organization and lead our industry by creating one of the best places to work.
Content published on the U.S. Legal Support blog is reviewed by professionals in the legal and litigation support services field to help ensure accurate information.