Developing a Global Mental Health Strategy for the Workplace

January 09, 2020

According to the World Health Organization, between 76% and 85% of people in low- and middle-income countries and 35% and 50% of people in high-income countries do not receive the mental health care the need to stay healthy and productive.

Global cost of mental health 

Global employers say that barriers to effective programs include:

  • Stigma
  • Access
  • Awareness
  • Culture
  • Providers
  • Data
  • Taboos

What Are Employers Offering to Address Mental Health?

For 2020, key areas of growth include anti-stigma campaigns and training for managers to help them recognize mental health issues and direct employees accordingly. Strategies like bringing counselors on-site, offering digital counseling and online resources and reducing copays for mental health medications are experiencing steady growth year-over-year.

Global mental health offerings 

Prevalence of Global Well-being and Mental Health Strategies

Survey data shows that 43% of all responding Business Group members (domestic and global) have formal mental health strategies. A 2019 Fidelity-National Business Group on Health survey of 164 employers revealed that only 42% had a broad global well-being strategy.

Do You Have a Formal Mental Health Strategy in Place For the Next 1-2 Years? 
Figure 1: Do You Have a Formal Mental Health Strategy in Place For the Next 1-2 Years?

Do You Have a Global Well-being Strategy? 
Figure 2: Do You Have a Global Well-being Strategy?

Steps to Creating a Mental Health Strategy

  1. Why are we creating the strategy? What is the need?
  2. What data will we need to collect? What is realistic?
  3. Based on our needs goals and gaps, what are our highest priorities for initiatives?
  4. How will these initiatives be rolled out and communicated at the local level?
  5. What do our employees really want and need? How do we know?
  6. What are our goals and objectives?
  7. How will we know if we have succeeded? What are our metrics?
  8. What do we currently offer in our global locations and where are there gaps?
  9. Who are the stakeholders that we need to get on board and how?

Potential Data Collection Sources

Potential Data Collection Sources 

Other Data Sources

  • Duration of mental health disability leaves
  • Mental health related spend
  • Personal assessment data
  • Utilization of clinical support services
  • Reasons for accessing clinical support services
  • Utilization of mental health disability leaves

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