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Tap into Employer Benefit Resources in Times of Uncertainty

Apr 06, 2020 04:33AM ● By Family Features
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For many American workers, how they do their jobs dramatically changed with the spread of COVID-19. Some have shifted to working from home while others moved to part-time or reduced hours.

With uncertainty abound, now's a good time to take stock of your physical and mental health and familiarize yourself with the resources available from your employer.

As part of a report on mental health, employee benefits company Unum found nearly three-quarters (74%) of working adults feel big life events can have a major impact on their mental health. Some top mental health triggers include a person's health (69%), finances (67%), relationships (59%) and job satisfaction (52%).

"With so many people experiencing major shifts in not only their work lives, but also potentially their health, finances and personal lives, now is a good time to know what resources are available," said Laurie Mitchell, assistant vice president of global wellbeing and health at Unum.

Often linked with a health care or disability plan's coverage, employee assistance programs, telemedicine or tele-behavioral health and app-based programs are low-cost solutions that allow people to connect with a professional on their own time when they're experiencing a problem.

Employee Assistance Programs
An employee assistance program (EAP) often offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals and follow-up services to people who have personal or work-related concerns. EAPs address a wide range of issues affecting mental and emotional wellbeing, such as alcohol and other substance abuse, stress, grief, family problems and psychological disorders. Many EAPs also provide services to help caregivers, assist with financial planning or offer child care resources.

Telemedicine and App-Based Mental Health Solutions
Telemedicine services can make accessing medical and mental health resources easier. There are even apps that can target specific mental health needs, and people can access them on their own time when they need the services. These types of tools can be effective complements to traditional care and help with everything from increasing positivity and efficiency to reducing stress and anxiety.

"Employees should ask their human resources department what resources are available and be supportive of colleagues who may be struggling as well," Mitchell said. "Especially during this time of uncertainty, offering support to others and knowing where to direct them can improve lives and help create a more inclusive work environment."

In addition, the report found 93% of human resources professionals say their companies offer an EAP, yet only 38% of employees said they're aware of the resource. More than half of human resources professionals also said they offer financial counseling, legal services and telemedicine services, but only a fraction of employees reported being aware these services exist.

As businesses chart new ways of working, these types of tools can help employees establish new ways of interacting with support services when in-person options may not be available. Even if you're not struggling now, as you navigate this uncertain time, consider asking your employer what resources you have access to that can help support your physical and mental wellbeing.

To download the mental health report and learn about other employee benefit resources, visit Unum.com/workwell.

 

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

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