Changing how your employees think about behavioral health

As discussed in our previous post, employees aren’t getting the healthcare they need due to four main barriers: awareness, mindset, cost, and access. Last time we drilled down into how lack of awareness can keep employees from seeking out the help they need. Today we’ll examine why even those who recognize that they need treatment may be hesitant to follow through due to barrier #2: mindset and fear of stigma.

When mindset is the biggest obstacle:

Many employees with behavioral health conditions worry that if their family, friends, or co-workers discovered they were suffering from or seeking care for a behavioral disorder, they’d react negatively. Some worry that their care would not be confidential, that they’d be stigmatized, or that their career prospects would be damaged. Others experiencing behavioral health issues think they can get better on their own, or that existing treatments won’t work. These mindset-related concerns create significant barriers to seeking out much-needed care.

Though public opinion is starting to change, misperceptions about behavioral health conditions still abound. Recently, numerous celebrities have championed efforts to improve public understanding of behavioral health issues. Nicole Kidman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Taylor Swift have spoken out publicly about their own experiences dealing with depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety respectively— and how they have been able to successfully manage these conditions with the right care. Demi Lovato, who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, launched her Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health initiative earlier this year to support others who live with behavioral health conditions learn how to live well. Advocacy organizations from across the globe have come together to popularize World Mental Health Day, Mental Illness Awareness Week, and World Suicide Prevention Day to help spread the word that behavioral health conditions are more common than you might realize (1 out of every 4 full-time employees in the US has a behavioral illness), and that they’re highly manageable with the right treatment.

How technology can help:

You might still be wondering: as a benefits leader, what can you do to reach employees suffering from behavioral health conditions who are reluctant to come forward? Castlight Elevate can help. It’s the first enterprise healthcare management solution that privately and securely identifies employees at risk for behavioral health conditions based on their search results and other data. The platform then provides employees with personalized, confidential access to the right resources, enabling them to make more educated treatment choices and access the care they need when they need it.

Check out our guide — Reinventing Employee Behavioral Health — to learn more about the primary barriers that keep employees from getting the behavioral healthcare they need, and how new technologies can help overcome them. And stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll explore how barrier #3 — the prohibitive cost of behavioral healthcare — plays a role, and what you can do to help lessen the burden for both your organization and employees.