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Keeping up with mental-health costs

Worried that the costs of covering mental health services are going to rise next year, some employers are promoting greater use of their employee assistance programs, The Wall Street Journal reports. More than half of the companies surveyed by one provider said they planned to ramp up such programs.

But this isn’t really much of a “benefit” to workers if its main purpose is to discourage people from seeing therapists and doctors on their own. I certainly understand the desire to control costs, but the truth is, picking up the phone to make a call for help is hard for depressed people. Picking up the phone to make two calls? How likely is that? Furthermore, the stigma associated with mental illness makes people hesitant to share information with someone perceived (rightly or wrongly) as working directly for their employer.

Is your organization worried about the impact of new mental-health parity laws on your bottom line? How are you responding those perceived threats?

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