Now is the time to get your mental health certification in the workplace: risks and insurance

Gone are the days of not recognizing the importance of employee mental health, especially when it comes to its relationship to workplace injuries.

Employers play a vital role in helping employees adopt healthy lifestyles, and employers who invest in the mental health of their workforce may experience reduced worker safety issues.

Not surprisingly, employee mental and emotional health is one of the top topics discussed in HR departments, boardrooms, and C-Suite offices across industries.

Senior human resources executives understand that mental health affects the likelihood of employee injuries.

For example, stress and anxiety can drain employees’ energy, affect their decision-making, and affect their personal relationships with co-workers, as well as friends and family. This, in turn, can create more stress and problems in the work environment.

As Natasha Bowman, JD, SPHR, Bowman Foundation for Workplace Equity and Mental Wellness explains, there is 30,000 to 1 ratio Providers of mental health services to the general population. These statistics prove a significant lack of access to those suffering from mental illness, even the insured. In addition, this deficiency causes mental health providers to be overwhelmed.

“In the past month, mental health providers at Kaiser Permanente have gone on strike over a labor shortage in their industry and how that shortage has affected their mental health,” Bowman said.

The impact of this shortage on today’s workforce essentially means that many workers do not have access to mental health care solutions, even though their employer provides them with medical benefits to cover the cost.

“This means that many employees who need access to mental health services have to get their money out of their pocket, because providers that accept insurance don’t have availability on their schedules weeks or months in advance,” Bowman said.

Therefore, companies should seek supplemental access to mental health providers at no cost to the employee. These complementary benefits should have culturally diverse, qualified providers available 24/7 on demand to prevent those who need immediate assistance from having to wait for it.”

Mental Health Certificate Program

After Bowman experienced a mental health crisis during the COVID pandemic, which resulted in a suicide attempt, forced hospitalization, and a bipolar diagnosis, she decided to share her mental health journey with her social media followers.

“Many of the responses I got about my story were that others wish they could share their story,” Bowman said. “However, they were afraid of their employer’s retaliation, or if they shared their mental health status with their employer, they experienced retaliation.”

Additionally, as a former C-Suite HR executive, workplace culture consultant, and now someone with living experience with mental illness, Bowman realized that HR departments are not equipped with the knowledge needed to adequately cultivate mental health cultures.

“Many HR departments have relied on challenges of steps, meditation, and yoga for mental health. More strategic planning is needed to grow cultures of mental wellness, including conducting a review of your medical benefits to determine how many mental health providers are in your network – closing the loop with assistance programs Employees (EAPs), and training managers to create safety spaces for dialogue about mental health, Bowman said.

For this reason, Bowman decided to create a workplace mental health certification program to help employees and organizations deal with the growing mental health condition facing all areas of society.

As part of the program, each participant attends a 6.5 hour course covering critical components of cultivating mental health cultures in their workplace, including destigmatizing mental health conditions and how to conduct a human resource audit for medical benefits and legal considerations. After the course, participants have 90 days to complete the certification exam.

“This certification is essential because it provides HR professionals with the tools and resources needed to bridge the gaps between the current state of mental health resources and what is required to ensure that every worker has access to appropriate mental health care,” Bowman said.

Although a workplace mental health certification falls primarily within the field of human resources, it plays an important role in the workers’ comp sector.

As Bowman explained, although this rarely happens, an employee may be able to file a workers compensation claim for a “mental” injury at work.

“Mental injury at work can result from experiencing a toxic work environment or constant harassment and discrimination,” Bowman said. “HR departments and organizations equipped with someone who holds this certification may be able to help mitigate this from happening, and thus reduce claims for their employee companies.”

Bowman emphasized that the future of mental health education, training within the workplace, and the evolution of having the right resources available is here to stay. Fortunately, more people are beginning to realize that we all need to feel comfortable saying, “I’m not feeling well — mentally or emotionally.” Today’s dialogue is now focused on ensuring that companies create resources for employees to get the help they need.

For example, some companies now have full-time licensed therapists on staff to provide opportunities for employees to talk about issues that may cause depression, stress, or anxiety. Co-workers also play a role in helping to recognize the signs that others in their workplace may not be in good shape mentally or emotionally.

The evolving environment of the COVID pandemic has also affected the emotional well-being of the worker. From ever-changing vaccination protocols to evolving mask-wearing rules for children engaging in distance learning while parents work at home, it has caused a wealth of anxiety and stress among staff.

“The number of people diagnosed with mental illness during the pandemic increased by 25 percent,” Bowman said. “This increase has highlighted the need for mental health resources for the organization’s employees. Additionally, employers recognize that when employees are healthy, they become better workers. Additionally, cultivating mental health cultures in the workplace is the right thing to do “. &

Maura Keeler, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a writer, editor, and author of published books with over 20 years of experience. She has written on business, design, marketing, healthcare, and a wealth of other topics for dozens of regional and national publications. It can be accessed at [email protected]

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