Want to Support Employee Mental Health? Address Their Top Source of Stress

Female warehouse employee experiencing mental health issues due to her financial stress

Employers invest billions of dollars on behavioral tools meant to support employee mental health, but behavioral health needs still drive 41% of all healthcare spend. Why? Finances – employees’ biggest source of stress – aren’t being addressed.

Frontline employees, who are more financially vulnerable than the broader workforce, suffer even more intensely. They have day-to day financial struggles that benefits such as financial wellness, one-size-fits-all financial education, financial coaching, and retirement solutions aren’t meant to support. Frontline employees are focused on how they’ll afford groceries, transportation to and from work, utility bills, and rent. Financial hardship is associated with the onset of mental health problems and high financial stress is associated with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. The combination of financial and mental health challenges hinder frontline employees’ personal and professional lives. 

Employers are uniquely positioned to support and improve employees’ mental and financial health, but doing so requires providing them with benefits built to solve the root cause of their stress.

The link between mental health and financial wellbeing 

Frontline employees were financially struggling long before the macroeconomy further challenged them with rising prices, high borrowing costs, and an unaffordable rental market.  If you’re an employer, their struggles also cost your business.

Consider the findings of a Financial Health Network study of low-wage earners:

  • All respondents said meeting their day-to-day financial needs was a source of stress 
  • Half of the respondents had called in sick to work because of corresponding mental health issues such as anxiety and depression 
  • Half of the respondents were distracted and less productive on the job because of anxiety and depression they’d experienced due to their financial stress 

Ironically, those who want professional mental health support may not be able to access it, simply due to the costs of treatment and medicine they may be prescribed. Without appropriate care for their mental and financial needs, neither situation improves. Suppose afflicted employees’ chronic stress leads to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke. For their employers, that may mean higher healthcare costs, increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and compromised workplace safety.

Employers can support employees by addressing poor financial health as a root cause of many of their mental health challenges, instead of investing in benefits that only treat their symptoms.

How Brightside treats root causes 

Much like some mental health conditions are stigmatized, financial issues often come with a significant amount of shame and guilt, which can intensify anxiety and depression. Financially struggling employees may fear that if they reach out for help, they’ll be judged and made to feel worse than they already do. It’s a core reason Brightside Financial Care provides personalized, compassionate treatment without judgment.

Our Financial Assistants find options and real solutions that triage employees’ immediate needs and support their financial health, priorities, and goals. We encourage Brightside users to identify and work toward goals they consider meaningful – whatever they may be – and make it easy to take steps to achieve them – which is key to building hope and believing that their financial situation can get better.

We created a new category in financial health because we believe that too many solutions make employees feel that they are doing something wrong when it comes to money.  At Brightside Financial Care, we believe that employees’ financial situations can be improved with an approach that removes “shoulds” and shame, lets them know they have a partner on their side, and makes it easy for them to take small steps that ultimately improve their financial health. 

We see the success of our approach reflected in outcomes like these:

  • 93% of Brightside users say they feel more confident managing their finances after working with Brightside
  • 14% of Brightside users do not think they can save when they come to us – yet 45% of employees who engage with Brightside start saving

Brightside Financial Care isn’t another treatment for symptoms. We focus on solving the root cause of employees’ stress: financial sickness. To schedule a demo and learn more, click here.