4As: Ensure ACCESS to Treatment
Learn about strategies for supporting worker mental health and well-being through access to treatment.
A key component to workplace mental wellness is ensuring access to behavioral/mental health treatment. In its “Working Well Toolkit" (PDF), the Center for Workplace Mental Health presents a number of promising practices for strengthening access to mental health treatment.
If your organization offers a health care plan, step one is to assess the specific mental health benefits that it covers, including treatment for substance use disorders. The Center advises asking the questions in the checklist below.
Checklist for Evaluating Health Care Plan's Support for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders:
Assessing your plan’s coverage for treatment of mental health conditions and substance use disorders is also one way employers can support current local, state, and federal efforts to address the nation’s opioid crisis, by helping not only currently impacted employees, but also those rejoining the workforce who may need ongoing access to treatment and recovery support.
If your organization does not currently offer a health care plan, the first step is to consider whether it may be feasible to do so. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor expanded access to affordable health coverage options for America’s small businesses and their employees through Association Health Plans. These plans allow small businesses to band together by geography or industry to obtain health care coverage as if they were a single large employer, resulting in better negotiating power with providers and greater economies of scale.
Other Tools and Strategies
Organizations that do not offer a health care plan(s) can still take steps to increase employees’ access to treatment, for example, by providing the scheduling flexibility they may need to attend therapy sessions or receive other types of care. Employers can also offer their workers access to tools to help them assess their well-being and screen for mental health risks, such as:
Mental Health Online Screening Tools: Mental Health America (MHA) offers a variety of free, anonymous, confidential, and validated online screening tools to help people understand and learn about their mental health. Topics addressed include depression, eating disorders, and substance use disorders, among others.