Consider AI-Empowered Employee Mental Health Support to Fight the Great Resignation

Posted on
May 18, 2022

Employers are more aware of the factors that contribute to poor employee mental health, but certain key challenges remain. Stresses are mounting alongside the drastic workplace changes that have taken effect recently. Shortened workweeks and “mental health days” can’t meet the rising needs of employees.

The Great Resignation, the phenomenon during which dramatically higher percentages of employees are seeking new jobs, could also be linked to this gap between need and care. In 2022, as many as 44% of employees are either looking for new positions or are planning to do so.  

Consequences like this could be mitigated by alternative solutions that can help employers ensure their employees have access to the support they need. Artificial intelligence empowered mental health support provides a way to avoid losses in retention and productivity —while still reducing the cost of care.


What’s the current state of mental health amongst employees?


The stresses of a job can have a negative impact on an employee, especially if they don’t have access to support. The retail industry provides a compelling example of the mental toll a job can take on a person. In fact, 40% of retail associates reported declines in their mental health over the last year.


Working in retail brings unique demands. Workers must contend with difficult customers, erratic hours, and low wages, among other challenges. These factors are assuredly part of why the industry has one of the country’s highest rates of poor mental health in the country. Healthcare is another prime example, as burnout rates for healthcare clinicians have risen since the pandemic, going from the 30%-50% range to 40%-70%.


Still, employee mental health is a concern in all work categories. This also applies across entire companies, according to this Harvard Business Review study. It found that mental health challenges have become the norm for all employees, regardless of organizational level. The number of respondents who reported experiencing at least one mental health condition symptom rose from 59% in 2019 to 76% in 2020.

The study also found the same prevalence going across the various levels of seniority. This, alongside the rise in reported symptoms, supports the idea that nearly everyone faces mental health challenges in the workplace.

What mental health challenges do employers face?


Workplace mental health struggles can have a ripple effect. They impact employee productivity, care costs, engagement, turnover, and overall satisfaction. For added insight into the prevalence of mental health issues among employees, we need only look at how much they cost employers.


An estimate puts the number around $15,000 each year, per employee. It's the product of elevated costs surfacing due to employee mental health complications. Some of the primary avenues for these expenditures include:


●     Inflated costs of care When mental health conditions aren’t addressed until symptoms worsen, they are harder to treat. Thus, as a person’s mental health declines, the treatment costs rise.


●     Higher attrition rates — More employees are leaving their jobs for mental health reasons. The number has risen 16% from2019 to 2020. Contributors include workplace factors like unsustainable workloads, tiring hours, and feeling overwhelmed. Replacing workers can cost employers thousands per person, plus time spent on recruitment.


●     Increased disability costs — Employees with generalized anxiety disorder lose over 18 workdays to disability every three months. By and large, mental health disorders account for 70% of workplace disability expenses.


●     More workplace accidents — Accidents are most prominent in retail but can be a factor in any work environment. Mental health difficulties can harm a person's physical capabilities in the workplace. This increases the likelihood of accidents occurring.


●     Productivity loss and absences — Worsening mental health contributes to low workplace productivity. Employees suffering from issues like depression or anxiety also tend to have more absences. The two afflictions alone have accounted for 13.8 million lost workdays.


How can employers better support employee mental health?


One of the most telling statistics from the Mental Health America research was that 45% of retail associates believed their mental health was not a concern to their managers. Feeling like your employer doesn’t care about your mental well-being can be a source of stress in itself. This is supported by the 48% who said they considered quitting their jobs over the previous year.


Providing better employee mental health support starts with employers showing they care. It is also vital that workers have proven resources at their disposal, available whenever they need support.This is a monumental task when you consider the scope of today’s companies. Many employees work remotely, or on atypical schedules.


That is the case if you’re relying on conventional services, which can leave a divide between what workers need and what employers can provide. Artificial intelligence empowered mental health support bridges this gap. It's a resource that makes one-on-one mental health support available anywhere and at any time.


The results from over 30 million global users of the AI text-based program called Tess/Cass stand as a testament to its impact. 18% of people saw reductions in anxiety, and 28% had their depression symptoms improve. By extension, this can pave the way for improved turnover rates and employee productivity. AI-empowered mental health support can also help employers differentiate themselves from their competition. With such a dependable resource, they become a more attractive destination for prospective hires.


AI text-based mental health support comes with an around-the-clock availability that is there when employees need urgent help and saves time when it comes to finding proper care, scheduling appointments and showing up. All by utilizing a low-cost solution that is evidence-based and has been scientifically proven to work.

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