Last week we shared part 1 of our interview with Behavioral Health Program Manager at AllWays Health Partners, David Macadam. Continue reading for part 2 to learn what David had to say about employers' responsibility to employees' mental health along with a list of resources your patients can use today.
Q: Do you think employers have a responsibility to acknowledge and support employees' mental health?
A: I think no matter what industry you're talking about, employer outcomes are better when employees are cared for. A depressed or anxious employee will impact their performance and be a detriment to the employers' overall goals. Regardless of what job you're talking about, if you support employees' health and wellness outcomes, it will positively impact their performance and work presence. From a pragmatic point of view, you're going to want the people that work for you to be the best they can be because then they're going to perform the best. It's mutually beneficial for the employer and employees.
Q: Do you think virtual meeting fatigue is connected to the increase in mental health issues? Do you see any solutions for that that employers can implement?
A: I think it will be interesting to see what research can tell us about that in the long term. Video platforms kept people connected, but like anything, there are pluses and minuses to new technology and a different way to work. I have to wonder if part of that virtual fatigue is because people felt required to be overly connected. Employees could switch it up by having a meeting via audio instead of video so that they can take a walk during the call, so you're having some movement vs. being in front of the screen the whole time.
In some ways, I think it parallels an experience we heard before the pandemic, with people in an office setting being too sedentary. If you're sitting at a desk too long, there are negative health consequences. We saw recommendations like take 5-minute breaks every hour to move around or stretch. We also so the implantation of standing desks. In the same way, I think if you're plugged into video all the time, it's just another thing that you have to find a way to find balance. Too much of anything is probably going to lead to an unhelpful outcome. I don't think those technologies are going away, and I think many of them have useful applications, especially if you're in a hybrid work situation. To that point, just having the possibility of a hybrid situation allows for a change in scenery and interaction. It's more about finding the appropriate space, so you're not overly connected. Encourage employees to disconnect after work hours because, for many, it feels like the workday doesn't end time because of our access to the technology needed to do our jobs. If you're accessing work applications after hours, you're never really disconnected from work-mode, which isn't sustainable.
Mental health resources available through AllWays Health Partners
www.optumeap.com -At Optum's public EAP site you can find a toll free emotional support line open to anyone, Podcasts, FAQs relevant to COVID (e.g. Grief, Loss, Anxiety, Tips for Parents etc.), and helpful webinars on working remotely, returning to in person activities, dealing with traumatic events, getting the best of stress, etc.
www.liveandworkwell.com - Optum's live and work well site has updated information on behavioral health resources and tools, behavioral health provider directory, child and adolescent behavioral health supports, and virtual visit platform. You can register and sign in as a member or sign in as a guest to browse materials by using allwaysma as your guest login. Some of the resources include:
- Mental Health Support for Children and Adolescents- BHCA services, this community-based network offers a wide range of services to children through age 18, from in-home therapy to family support and training. Services can take place at home, school or out in the neighborhood. More information found in the "Highlighted Benefits" tab, including a downloadable list of BHCA providers.
- Virtual Visit Platform- access outpatient therapists and medication providers remotely, can be found under the "Find a Resource" tab.
- Sanvello App-Sanvello is an app that offers clinical techniques to help dial down the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression — anytime. Connect with powerful tools that are there for you right as symptoms come up. Found under "Popular Tools" tab.
- Resources and FAQs on depression, anxiety, ADHD, SUD, and many other behavioral health areas.
- Coping Center: Type the keyword "coping" into the search bar, select Coping. Here you'll find articles, guides, self-help tools, and videos on coping with stress.
- Mindfulness Center: Type the keyword "mindfulness" into the search bar, select Mindfulness Center. Here you'll find breathing and meditation exercises, guides, videos and tools for practicing mindfulness.
- Resiliency Resources: Learn more about bouncing back after difficult times. Type "resiliency" into the search bar select Recovery & Resiliency Center.
- Parent's Resources: View a variety of parenting resources. Type "parenting" into the search bar, select the Parenting topic center.
Substance Use Treatment Helpline (1-855-780-5955) is available 24 hours a day. The Substance Use Treatment Helpline is staffed with highly trained and licensed advocates. An advocate will talk with you about your concerns and your unique situation. They will answer questions, support you in connecting with treatment providers, and help create a personalized treatment plan. You can call the Substance Use Treatment Helpline at the number above or visit liveandworkwell.com/recovery. You can also click to chat from substance use areas on the website.
Talkspace is a virtual BH provider group that AllWays Health Partners commercial members can access. Talkspace will match members to a provider on the same day and offers asynchronous messaging, video messaging, and real time audio/video sessions with a therapist. Members can access them directly by going to https://www.talkspace.com/connect and clicking on "get started" under the "use my insurance benefits" section.