About Be Smart Be Well Works
Be Smart. Be Well. Works
provides information and resources to help you manage the demands mental disorders place on the workplace. Here you’ll find practical tools and ready-to-use solutions that will help your workforce benefit from Be Smart. Be Well. Mental Health, the employee mental health site.
Be Smart. Be Well. Where You Work
Through workplace education and wellness initiatives, employers can help employees better understand mental disorders and the importance of mental health. Here are 10 workplace wellness tips for employers of any size.
1. Examine your mental health benefits.
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, included as a provision in the 2008 federal bailout bill, took effect in January 2010. The Act requires employers to cover mental illnesses at the same level of physical ailments. (Employers with fewer than 51 employees are exempt.) Employers are not required to provide mental health benefits, but if benefits are offered, they must be equivalent in terms of deductibles, co-payments, limits on days of treatment and more. Learn more about the Mental Health Parity Act at Partnership for Workplace Mental Health.
2. Match your mental health benefits to your employees' needs.
Read the Employer's Guide to Behavioral Health Services from the National Business Group on Health to learn more about evaluating, designing and implementing behavioral health services. And read "An Employer's Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Health" for workplace recommendations and tips.
3. Calculate your mental health costs.
A variety of online tools are available to help employers calculate the direct and indirect cost of mental disorders. Try this depression calculator.
4. Educate your employees about their mental health benefits.
One recent study found that 40% of employees don't know what mental health benefits are offered by their employers. One-third of those survey respondents said they would be more likely to use their benefits if their employer did a better job of promoting them.
5. Review your psychiatric disability policy.
Studies report that people return to work from disability leave sooner and are more likely to return if they're allowed to return on a part-time basis.
6. Consider an EAP and remind employees of its uses.
If you don't already offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), consider adding one. The money you spend on an EAP may reap savings down the road. Read this overview of EAPs from the National Business Group on Health and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
7. Overcome the stigma.
There is still great stigma associated with mental illness, and many employees are reluctant to seek care or inform managers of their condition out of embarrassment and fear. Educate your managers about mental disorders and symptoms and remind employees of mental health benefits and protections they have under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Visit the SAMHSA Resource Center. And read this overview of the ADA and how it relates to mental disorders.
8. Promote good mental health.
Include mental health tips and FYIs in your employee newsletter or in employee announcements. Provide information about local support groups for substance abuse and mental disorders. Consider brownbag lunchtime or after-work health education programs that focus on stress management, depression and other mental disorders. Visit the National Alliance for Mental Illness to find local chapters, affiliates, support and resources.
9. Consider flexible work arrangements
Consider adding flexible working arrangements, job sharing or flexible time. Juggling work and family responsibilities is a cause of stress for many. Flex time might eliminate stress for employees who are family caregivers, single parents or battling general anxiety.
10. Offer mental health screenings.
Early diagnosis is key to treatment and recovery from mental disorders. Learn more about workplace screenings at the Centers for Disease Control and visit
mentalhealthscreening.org to find free depression screenings in your community.