​BROOKFIELD, WI – Organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada are learning more about the prevalence and impact of mental health in the workplace, according to Mental Health and Substance Abuse: 2016 Survey Results from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. Ninety-three percent of employers offer some sort of mental health/substance abuse benefits, and this support is called for—92% of organizations report that their workforce is stressed and 62% said depression is prevalent in their organization.

The report explored common coverage and treatment options offered, conditions present in the workplace population and impacts on the workforce. Out of the 93% of organizations that offer mental health/substance abuse benefits, 91% offer employee assistance programs, 38% offer wellness programs that include a mental health/substance abuse component and 25% offer health risk assessments that include mental health/substance abuse questions.

"The first step for organizations to take is assessing the mental health issues that actually exist in their workplace, then creating solutions based on the need," said Julie Stich, CEBS, Associate Vice President of Content at the International Foundation.

Organizations were asked how prevalent specific conditions are in their workplaces. In addition to the 62% that reported depression as prevalent, alcohol addiction (50%), anxiety disorders (50%), sleep deprivation (39%), prescription drug addiction (32%) and nonprescription drug addiction (29%) are also top concerns. Employers based their response on prevalence from their general sense, as well as data from health claims, short- and long-term disability, prescription drug claims and absenteeism.

"According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, so it's especially important that organizations are starting to recognize its presence in the workplace," Julie said. Survey respondents predict that 16% of their organizational disability claims can be attributed to mental health/substance abuse issues.

After understanding the prevalence of mental health conditions in the workplace, the most common treatment options organizations are offering include:​​

  • Outpatient in-person treatment sessions with a medical professional or therapist (84%)
  • Prescription drug therapies (76%)
  • Inpatient hospital/clinic treatment (69%).

To ease the transition back into work duties, organizations offer a variety of return-to-work programs. These most commonly include off- and on-site case management programs and flexible return to work, including shortened schedules and flexible start and stop times.

 While recognition of the importance of mental health benefits is more prominent, workers and organizations still face barriers. Thirty-seven percent of organizations note that workers do not acknowledge or are not ready to address their problems. View the full Mental Health and Substance Abuse Benefits: 2016 Survey Results at www.ifebp.org/mentalhealth.




The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is the premier educational organization dedicated to providing the diverse employee benefits community with objective, solution-oriented education, research and information to ensure the health and financial security of plan beneficiaries worldwide. The Foundation has more than 33,000 multiemployer, corporate and public sector members representing over 25 million lives. For additional information, visit www.ifebp.org.