HR Alert: Employer Resources for Workplace Mental Health

Check out our blog. We cover everything from car accidents to employment law and other hot legal topics.

Start the Conversation Today

As we’ve previously discussed on our blog, mental health continues to be an area of focus and an area of continuous improvement for employers.  Many employers say that they’re committed to improving workplace mental health, but the data tells us few have implemented successful support programs that are used by employees.  In the United States 1 in 5 adults have a mental health condition; however, less than half of those individuals seek treatment for their conditions. As an employer, even if you have resources available to your employees, there’s still a stigma surrounding receiving help for mental health.

So we’ve decided to share some resources for establishing employee programs as well as resources for maintaining the programs that should be useful to business owners and entrepreneurs.

Resources for Employers

There are various national and local resources that employers can implement in their workplace to support their employees.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs):  These programs provide employees with free and confidential care for a variety of work and personal issues. In addition to providing employees with assistance for mental and emotional issues, many EAPs work with managers and supervisors to cope with and prevent violence and trauma in the workplace. Locally, Child + Family Services offers an EAP solution to businesses in the Western New York area. We’ve got direct experience with this EAP and think the world of it! CFS’s EAP program also provides for free workplace presentations and education for employees.

The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County: The UWBEC provides a referral program, Work/Life Solutions, that is designed to ease the burden of finding resources to help employees with their mental health struggles as well as other issues. While this program is primarily focused on financial wellness, it also refers employees to proper local resources to help them with general wellbeing, too. The resources are provided free of charge to employees.

Healthiest You App: This wellness app is designed to make finding solutions to medical and mental health needs easier for employees by putting it right at their fingertips on their smartphone.  Healthiest You is a low-cost option for employers that provides quality services to everyone in their workplace.  Healthiest You also connects employees with providers for medical and dental needs in addition to mental health and other providers.

Since every work environment it unique, it’s up to employers to choose the service that best fits their workplace. Many of these services offer demos so employers can make informed decisions on what program best fits their workplace.

Why Should I Invest in My Employees Mental Health?

Mental health is connected to all areas of wellbeing, and in the workplace it’s directly related to work productivity. Individuals who struggle with mental health, particularly anxiety and depression, are less productive at work and produce a lower quality work product. This lost productivity costs employers huge sums of money.  As a consequence, by investing in mental health, employers can eliminate productivity losses which average $1,685 per employee per year.  Furthermore, by implementing voluntary services to help your employees, absenteeism can decrease by almost 1 day per month.

Globally, depression and anxiety disorders that go untreated cost the economy over $1 trillion  per year! By focusing on mental health in the workplace, employers can expect to see a return on their investment due to increased productivity and work quality. Improvements in mental health also positively contribute to employee retention and morale as well as help to reduce insurance claims. Overall, by investing in your employees, you’re ultimately investing in your business.

I’ve Implemented a Mental Health Service; Now What?

No matter how you chose to implement a service into your workplace, you’ll need to make an effort to eliminate the stigma of using these programs. Many employees simply don’t know that these programs are available to them; and if they’re aware, they may be fearful of how it’ll be perceived if they take advantage of them.  Consistent, helpful communication about the programs often is a key to their success. It’s often difficult to tell when someone’s struggling, so reminders about avenues of assistance increase the chances that your people will get help when they need it.

We’ve previously discussed ways that managers and employers can help manage workplace culture to create a positive environment that’s good for mental health. Additionally, we’re fortunate that there are local organizations designed to help educated managers and employees on how to utilize these services and start the conversation of mental health in the workplace. For example, Horizon Health Services is one WNY-based business that specializes in mental health awareness and counseling. For employers, it offers a speaker program to educate team members on how to handle a discussion of mental health in the workplace. Topics range from mental health first aid and stress management to addiction awareness.

Generally, mental health isn’t discussed enough in the workplace to allow employees feel comfortable utilizing programs that are designed to help them. It’s likely, then, that struggles with mental health, including experiences with losing loved ones, addiction, and suicide have impacted individuals in your workplace. By showing employees that it’s acceptable to discuss these topics at work, it increases the odds that employees will utilize the services available to them and receive the services they need to enjoy a healthy and productive work life.

Managers need to make it clear that having these conversations or reaching out for help is possible and acceptable in the workplace. It’s important that all managers are familiar with available resources, because an employee who’s struggling may not feel comfortable going to an HR representative first. It’s often difficult for someone to reach out for help, so by having many people in the workplace who are equipped to effectively field an initial conversation, their team members can feel comfortable reaching out to anyone to get the help they need.

The Coppola Firm is a small business, too, so we know how important it is to prioritize our employees’ mental health. If you have any questions on how to create and implement policies that enhance the wellbeing of your team, reach out to us at 716.839.9700 or email us at We’re always happy to help.


Lisa Coppola

Written by Lisa Coppola

Founder of The Coppola Firm

Lisa A. Coppola, Esq. understands the challenges her clients face, whether they’re starting a new business, taking their existing operations in a new direction, or facing a claim or threat.

Blog Categories


Speak With the Lawyers at The Coppola Firm

NAICS Code: 541100

© The Coppola Firm
Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a future outcome.

Call Us Now Message Us