How Pharmacy Benefits Support Employees’ Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Once a topic seldom discussed, employers are now recognizing the importance of employee mental health on the job and at home. In fact, in a recent survey, 64% of large employers ranked mental health as a priority.

Nearly 1 in 5 adults will have a bout with mental illness in a given year. This can range from anxiety disorder, which almost 1 in 3 adults will experience at some point in their lives, to major depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Behavioral health has a greater effect on overall health than any other condition, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. People living with mental illness are at an increased risk for chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, cancer and substance abuse.

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When you think about it, it makes sense that together the right behavioral health programs and pharmacy benefits can make a big difference to your employees. Medications can be an important part of an effective treatment plan. Look for a plan that covers a range of behavioral health medications and offers features like:

  • Outreach to employees and their doctors when prescriptions are filled late.

  • Materials to help educate employees about behavioral health conditions.

  • Maintenance medications (those taken over a long period of time) with low or no employee copays.

  • Prescription monitoring to identify those on too many medications at the same time, or prescriptions from too many different doctors.

  • Prescription reviews to determine if the behavioral health medication prescribed is appropriate for the age of the employee or covered family members.

Employers can now choose from a variety of behavioral health programs, all serving a specific role in the continuum of support and care. Be sure to include these programs to build a well-rounded behavioral health approach:

  • 24/7 resources that can provide referrals, crisis intervention and decision support.

  • Care management for conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, bi-polar disorder, alcohol/drug abuse.

  • Proactive outreach to employees at high risk for behavioral health issues.

  • Tele-health counseling.

behavioral health programs