Employee Wellness – Psychology Referrals

I’m so impressed with companies that take employee wellness (particularly mental wellness) seriously. I work with a few local companies who refer employees for individual therapy, not only for work-related issues. They recognise the impact of mental health issues on absenteeism, work productivity, targets, team relationships and work motivation.

Stress and anxiety levels are on the rise with more pressure to sell, excel and exceed expectations not only to advance in a company, but sometimes just to remain in the company. It’s only natural that if you have stressful home circumstances, it will impact on your work performance. Add to that a depressive or anxiety disorder and you are faced with an enormous challenge to cope with day-to-day challenges.employee wellness

Most companies who refer clients to me do so for short interventions (usually 3-5 sessions). Within those sessions I can assess for any psychological disorder; make necessary referrals and use a more directive approach that is solution-focused. Most of the time, the company does not require any feedback (they respect confidentiality). Some of the time the referrals require more longer-term therapy which they can do so privately.

Recommendations for companies considering employee wellness:

  • If you are a large corporation, consider a company like ICAS or Careways who have affiliates around the country.
  • For smaller companies, connect with health care providers close to your offices for referrals. This makes the time out of the office shorter for appointments. I often have HR managers phoning frantically for appointments if an employee is in crisis (for example, a trauma). It makes sense to have a list of providers (and their specialties) on hand in case you need them for future referrals.
  • Discuss confidentiality and the number of sessions that will be covered by the company beforehand – with the service provider and employee.
  • Consider workshops or presentations on mental health and wellness subjects to reach a larger audience – prevention is always better than cure!
  • Don’t underestimate the value of referring an employee for therapy. Many referrals I see feel valued by the company to know that they’ve invested in them.
  • It may be helpful for managers to attend workshops on managing mental health issues in the workplace. Many are uncertain how to deal with employees that are struggling to cope with emotional issues and where to draw the line between individual and company needs.
  • Realise that therapy is never a “quick fix” – it’s not like having a broken arm that needs to be in a cast for 6 weeks to heal. Some employees may have pre-existing or long-term psychological problems. A short-term intervention may just assist with crisis management or referral to services.

Every employee has a story. Some leave work to face significant challenges at home that may ultimately impact on work performance. It makes sense to look after those who look after your business, not only to improve work productivity but to boost morale and motivation levels.