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May 24, 2024

Mental Health at Work: What to Ask and Look For

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! While mental health is influenced by various factors, a UKG white paper reveals that 60% of employees worldwide say their job is the biggest factor influencing their mental health. With the average person spending around 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, your workplace environment plays an important role in your overall well-being.

The stigma around mental health at work is diminishing, and many workers now expect mental health benefits as part of their employment. According to a recent Mercer survey, 94% of large employers (500+ employees) have enhanced their mental health care coverage, increased support, or introduced new programs in the last three years. So, what are these companies offering? We’ve compiled the most appealing benefits according to our research and highlighted what you should look for in your job search or current workplace to ensure your well-being is prioritized.

 

Wellness Benefits

These insights are based on our survey of students regarding how appealing they find various employer benefits aimed at improving mental health as part of an internship or entry-level full-time position. The following percentages are what students found “very or extremely appealing”:

Wellness Stipend 74%: A taxable benefit for wellness expenses, including gym memberships and mental health apps.

Mental Health Days 71%: Paid time off dedicated to self-care and mental health recovery.

Therapy and Mental Health Care Coverage 64%: Health plans offering coverage for mental health services.

Access to Exercise and Yoga Classes 61%: Provided through on-site gyms, gym stipends, or virtual classes.

Mental Health Screenings 44%: Assessments to detect and address mental health conditions early.

 

Key Factors for a Positive Work Culture

Beyond formal benefits, a positive workplace culture is equally as important. For Gen Z employees, the two most important factors are work-life balance (57%) and supportive managers (43%). Let’s explore further on what this may look like:

Work-Life Harmonization

Flexible Work Hours: Allows employees to focus on reaching their goals and their work output vs putting in a certain number of hours.

Remote Work Options: Enables employees to work from locations other than the central office.

Paid Time Off (PTO): Paid leave for vacation, sick leave, or personal time.

Supportive Managers

A supportive manager fosters consistent and open communication with team members, regularly discussing work streams, satisfaction, and workload to enhance overall well-being and productivity.

 

How to Ask About Mental Health Benefits During Your Job Search

  1. Research the Company: Before the interview, research the company’s website, employee reviews, and any publicly available information to see if they mention mental health benefits.
  2. During the Interview: Wait until later in the interview process to ask about benefits, ideally after you’ve established that you’re a strong candidate and they’ve expressed serious interest in you.
    Example Questions:
    • “Can you tell me about the mental health benefits your company offers?”
    • “How does the company support employee wellbeing and work-life harmonization?”
    • “Are there any specific programs or resources available for mental health support?”
  3. When Evaluating an Offer: Review the benefits package in detail. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification on any benefits that are important to you.
    Example Questions:
    • “Can you provide more details on the wellness stipend and what it covers?”
    • “How many mental health days are offered annually?”
    • “What kind of coverage is available for mental health services?”

 

While May is a great month to raise awareness about mental health, remember to prioritize your mental and physical wellbeing year-round. By being proactive in your job search and inquiring about mental health benefits, you can ensure that your workplace supports your overall wellbeing.

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