Global Mobility Firms Step Up Mental Health Support in Post-Pandemic Era

People may say that the global mobility industry doesn’t need to concern itself with workplace wellness or mental health wellbeing because employers can take care of it, but the pandemic changed all that. Demand for mental health care is surging, and global mobility companies like Gerson Relocation are getting involved, even if they are just offering tips and advice to companies about how to support the wellbeing of their global employees.

Other companies like Tira Network are helping companies see the value of taking the necessary steps to provide health and wellness support throughout an assignee’s relocation process. This may include offering counseling services, mindfulness training and other resources to help assignees cope with the stress of relocating and once these assignees arrive, provide them with more information about local support groups, therapists and other mental services.

The new work environment or system presents unique managerial challenges that need addressing, especially when global mobility companies are recruiting foreign talents. Relocating professionals experience a range of emotions. These include anxiety, depression and loneliness as well as culture shock, isolation, and language barriers. Employers are encouraged to support mental health through strong communication, training in mental first aid, and acknowledging cultural diversity challenges — and if global mobility providers serve to remind them, so be it.

It boils to how now, more than ever, it’s important to ensure global employees feel as cared for as local employees. The global mobility industry sees the benefit of looking after an assignee’s welfare based on how international workforce diversification adds new perspectives, improves retention, facilitates knowledge transfer, and adds value as an employee benefit. 

Global mobility companies need assistance when it comes to strategic planning, considering aspects like visa requirements and workflows. Being proactive and flexible, as well as visiting global employees, are crucial for understanding and supporting them in their new environments.

Increased productivity

Studies find that the health and wellbeing programs for global teams lead to increased productivity, better employee relations, a strong company reputation, and improved staff retention. Companies like Google, Nike, and Netflix reportedly have good health and wellbeing programs, emphasizing work-life balance, physical fitness, and flexible working options.

Some firms have introduced digital tools like meditation apps or online therapy portals, while others have taken a more immersive approach. Large global employers, such as Comcast, Delta Airlines, and Shaw Industries Group, are now providing employees with access to licensed clinical therapists right within their corporate facilities.

This innovative strategy addresses the pressing shortage of mental health professionals worldwide. In the United States alone, an estimated 122 million Americans live in areas with a shortage of mental healthcare providers, and the country needs to add around 6,000 clinicians to bridge the gap. The situation is similar in other countries, with the NHS in the UK reporting a shortage of 2,000 qualified therapists in 2022.

Lack of mental support

Moreover, the therapists who are currently practicing are often overloaded. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 60% of psychologists in the US reported having no openings for new patients following the pandemic in 2022, and 38% maintain a waitlist. Even for those who can find an available clinician, scheduling an appointment can be a challenge, especially if they have inflexible work arrangements.

These factors, coupled with the high costs of therapy in many countries, can create significant barriers to accessing mental health services. 

Lack of mental health support can not only impact employees’ personal lives but also seep into their work, resulting in lost productivity and increased absences – a problem that companies are keen to address through on-site access to clinicians.

While discussing mental health in the workplace was once taboo, the stigma is gradually dissipating, and many workers now expect mental health benefits as part of their employment package. Workers, especially younger ones, are reportedly more comfortable than in the past asking for mental healthcare and talking about their mental states.

On-site therapy

Buoyed by global mobility’s initiatives toward the health and wellbeing of their relocating professionals, an increasing number of employers are responding by offering on-site therapy as a way to reduce barriers to care, whether related to location, availability, or financial constraints. 

In its BBC Work Life report, US on-site healthcare provider Premise Health reported a nearly six-fold increase in visits for their on-site therapy services since 2020. On-site therapists are not directly employed by the companies they serve but rather by healthcare providers or employee assistance programs (EAPs). They are bound by the same privacy laws and ethical codes as any therapist in a private office and do not share conversations with managers or the company.