Addressing mental health at an on-site or near-site employer health clinic

Mental health is a challenging subject for employers, particularly when they offer their employees on-site or near-site healthcare. The stigma of mental issues affects both employer and employee. Employers understandably want to be informed as to whether an employee is dealing with a mental health concern, but all healthcare services provided to the employee are confidential even when provided by an employer sponsored clinic.

Likewise, employees may be hesitant to access mental health services provided by an employer out of fear the employer will discover their issue. Often, an employee who needs mental health services may not even realize that those services are provided as part of the on-site or near-site employer health clinic services. A recent study found that over half of employees did not know whether their company offered “mental well-being” services.

Employers are also not aware whether their employees are experiencing mental health concerns. In the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Benefits survey of 247 U.S. employers conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans “about 158 employers (64%) said that they thought that less than 30% of their workforce is affected by mental health or substance abuse issues.”

Mental health services are generally offered by employers as part of an Employee Assistant Program (EAP). Similar services may be just as effective, if not more so, if provided by an on-site or near-site employer health clinic that offers convenient access to those services.

Behavioral health issues can affect absenteeism and productivity as much as physical health issues. Providing access to behavioral health services in an on-site or near-site clinic and removing the stigma from such services can vastly improve the overall health environment in the workplace. Mental health issues can impact not only the employee but also others in the workplace, including the employer. Addressing the issues early can mitigate the impact of mental health for all concerned.