Jen Porter Anderson | Chief Operating Officer, Mind Share Partners
Demand for mental health services at work is on the rise. Half of Millennials and 75% of Gen-Zers have voluntarily left a job, at least in part, due to mental health concerns. To be able to attract and retain top talent, supporting mental health is no longer an optional perk, but an imperative focus for companies who want to stay competitive.
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Among the wide range of approaches workplaces are using to support employee mental health, some companies are choosing to bring mental health care onsite. I decided to speak with company decision-makers, employees and practitioners to get their recommendations on whether the trending workplace benefit of onsite therapy is truly a viable solution. Whether you’re in leadership deciding if this is an effective approach to address mental health in the workplace or an employee wondering about the pros and cons, here’s what you need to know.
Physical Proximity Eases Access To Therapy
Perhaps the greatest benefit of onsite therapy is that it eases barriers and transaction costs to seeing a therapist. Brad Smallwood, who works as an onsite therapist at a publicly-held payments company, says that employees most value the “opportunity to take time from their day that isn’t that disruptive.” Add to that the possibility of a 30-minute commute each way, and for some, offsite support is prohibitive.
Jessica DiVento, Google’s Mental Health Program Manager, explains Google’s perspective: “Having therapists on site is much more convenient for employees, saving them valuable time as they don’t have to travel to an appointment. It also means they are more likely to engage in therapy as we’re making it as simple as possible to access.”
However, the convenience of physical proximity doesn’t require a therapist to be at the office. We’ve seen employee-led Slack channels or mental health ERGs be excellent resources where people can share tips or recommendations for local service providers. In one example, many employees at a company were able to visit an independent therapist located in the same building.