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Ways companies can support employee mental health

PayFlex Engage     Ways companies can support employee mental health 


Supporting and improving employees’ well-being

This is the new mantra business leaders are embracing for success, and it’s easy to see why. From increasing productivity and engagement to improving health and workplace satisfaction, focusing on the well-being of employees can help a company, and its workforce, thrive. But in order to reap the benefits of a well-being-ready workforce, business leaders must first focus on breaking down the barriers that are keeping their employees from achieving a sense of well-being. The biggest of which is lack of support and resources for mental health. 

A poll conducted in 2019 found that roughly 3 in 4 employees (76%) indicated they have struggled with at least one issue that has affected their mental health.1 The COVID-19 pandemic only heightened this issue, with workplace stress skyrocketing and increasing the risk of employees developing depression. 2,3 In fact, a recent survey comparing 2019 to 2020 found that the number of people reporting anxiety symptoms has tripled, while depression symptoms have almost quadrupled during the pandemic.4  That’s why now, more than ever, employees need support to manage their mental health. To do this, employers must develop benefits strategies and invest in well-being solutions that go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach.    



Tailored and targeted solutions address unique mental health needs 

Each of your employees’ mental health and well-being needs are unique. In order to support them, it’s important to develop a benefits strategy that offers various solutions to meet their various needs. So whether your employees are looking for better access to mental health care, help reducing stress or support to improve their financial health; investing in benefits solutions that target and tailor to your employees’ unique needs is key to helping your workforce achieve better mental health and well-being. 

Teaming up with the right benefits partner that can help you offer these solutions is an important first step. 

At PayFlex, we strive to help build healthy and engaged workforces. That’s why we’ve developed an expanded tool kit of flexible benefit offerings — including tailored and targeted solutions — to help break down specific barriers and provide the right support for your employees’ unique mental health needs. 

Consider how the following PayFlex solutions may help address mental health needs in your organization.



PayFlex Specialized Health Reimbursement ArrangementTM (Specialized HRA) 

A key barrier to improving mental health for employees is the cost associated with behavioral health services. A PayFlex Specialized Health Reimbursement Arrangement (Specialized HRA) is a targeted solution to help you directly break down this barrier and provide your employees with better access to various mental health treatments and providers.

A Specialized HRA is an employer-funded (pre-tax) account, and your employees can use these funds to pay for copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for in- and out-of-network care. And a customized behavioral health PayFlex debit card makes it even easier for them to use their Specialized HRA funds.

With a Specialized HRA, certain behavioral health expenses and providers are reimbursable, helping your employees more easily afford and access behavioral health services. These reimbursable providers and expenses can range from clinical social workers and psychological examiners to marriage and family therapists, applied behavioral analysis and telemedicine visits. So whether it’s a treatment or service that your employees need, a Specialized HRA offers a variety of reimbursable resources to help target and meet those needs.


What’s more?


A Specialized HRA is a flexible benefit offering that can be implemented at any time during the year — so if you determine access to behavioral health services is important to your workforce’s mental health and well-being, you don’t have to wait until open enrollment to offer this benefit. We’ll work with you to incorporate this solution into your existing benefits strategy, so your employees can get better access to the support they need right away.



Well-being Reimbursement Account (WRA) 

When you encourage wellness within your workplace, employees can become healthier, more productive and more engaged. Having a wellness program can play a big role in creating a culture of well-being for your employees, and incorporating a tailored solution, such as a Well-being Reimbursement Account (WRA), to support your wellness program can further address their unique emotional and mental health needs. 

A WRA is a post-tax well-being reimbursement account where you can contribute a fixed dollar amount or contribution-based dollars to be used by your employees each year. A WRA also reimburses your employees for a broad set of well-being programs, inclusive of emotional health support. And you can choose which products and services are eligible for reimbursement — that’s where the tailored part comes in. So if you’re focusing on helping to improve your employees’ emotional health and well-being, you can opt to reimburse them for programs such as financial planning, group fitness classes and pet adoption — which are all activities that can help reduce stress and provide emotional support. 

A WRA is also a flexible benefit offering, so you can incorporate this offering into your benefits strategy at any time. 



The bottom line: Addressing employee mental health takes a holistic approach 

As you begin to think about building out a benefits strategy that can address your employees’ unique mental health needs, it’s important not only to consider investing in tailored and targeted benefits solutions, but to also take a look at how these solutions can help enhance your existing benefits strategy. That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced benefits partner who has the tools, solutions and knowledge to help you create the right benefits offering for you and your employees.  

We’re here as a trusted partner to help you do just that. We’re committed to helping your employees thrive, so your company can do the same. 

Want to learn more? Visit us at PayFlex Engage



1. American Heart Association. Highlighted findings. CEO Roundtable. March 5, 2019. Available at: Accessed June 7, 2021.

2. Corporate Wellness Magazine. Workplace strategies to combat pandemic-related stress. Available at: Accessed June 7, 2021.

3. Hall-Flavin DK. Can chronic stress cause depression? Mayo Clinic. March 24, 2020. Available at: Accessed June 7, 2021.

4. National Institute for Health Care (NIHCM) Foundation. COVID-19’s impact on mental health and workplace well-being. November 13, 2020. Available at: Accessed June 24, 2021.


This material does not contain legal or tax advice. You should contact your legal counsel or tax advisor if you have any questions or need additional information. PayFlex does not provide any payment or service in violation of any United States economic or trade sanctions. For more information about PayFlex, go to

HRAs are currently not available to HMO members in Illinois.

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