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North East Healthcare Business Group launched a a new tool Thursday to help employers determine whether their company is providing adequate mental health support to its staff.

The survey tool, called the Well Gauge, asks participants a series of questions through four sections: communicating a commitment to mental health, engaging leadership at all levels, demonstrating a commitment to mental health equity, and fostering environments that support holistic health.

After answering the questions, participants will receive a score out of 25 for each section and a total score out of 100. The score is “an indication of how effective your organization is in creating a culture of mental health,” Amy Tippett-Stangler, senior vice president of Northeast Business Group on Health, wrote in an email.

Participants will also receive a list of recommendations or action items outlining what they can do to improve mental health support in their company. These action items might include requiring mental health training for managers, providing paid leave for mental health days, or accepting employee suggestions through surveys.

“You can use the list of action items to help normalize conversations about mental health, reduce the stigma of mental health, and integrate strategies to create a culture of mental health,” Tippett-Stangler said.

The Well Gauge was created by a working group of 15 people over a period of 10 months. The team included senior social care leaders, clinicians and healthcare stakeholders, according to a news release.

The Northeast Business Group on Health tool comes as more employers look to increase their support for employee mental health. A recent Willis Towers Watson survey of 455 employers found that 67% want to make mental health and emotional well-being programs a top priority in the next three years. It also found that 88% of respondents had already taken mental health measures in the past year, with some of their top strategies including covering telebehavioral health services, providing employee assistance programs and providing access to digital behavioral health support.

But while benefits and mental health programs are necessary, companies need to do more for their employees, Tippett-Stangler said.

“Providing benefits and offering mental health programs are essential — but not sufficient — to support employee well-being,” Tippett-Stangler said. “Creating an inclusive environment where mental health is a priority, mental illness is de-stigmatized and employees feel valued as whole people is fundamental to building a healthy, productive and engaged workforce.”

Photo: SIphotography, Getty Images

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