Timely access is a crucial component of employee mental and emotional health support

How can employers make sure support is available?

A person’s mental and emotional health impacts everything they do from their relationships to how they perform as an employee. Employers invest in finding the best talent and building an effective team, but what unspoken challenge is each member of the team experiencing that could be impacting the business? From battling anxiety and depression, caregiving demands, loss of a loved one or a recent chronic condition diagnosis, employees who are struggling with personal challenges can’t always set them aside when their workday begins.

Life happens during work hours and often, when an employee needs mental and emotional help, they need the support now, not several weeks from now. Health coaching can often be that bridge of support when access to primary care or a mental health provider isn’t immediately available. Health coaching provides human wellbeing support when it’s needed which includes helping guide employees to additional resources if necessary.

Question: Many employers provide a robust collection of employee benefits, so why is timely access to mental and emotional health support an issue?

Answer: The truth is individuals can sometimes wait several weeks to get an appointment to see a primary care physician or a mental health provider. According to the Merritt Hawkins 2022 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times1, it takes an average of 26 days to see a primary care doctor in America today. Additionally, the National Council of Mental Wellbeing reports the average wait time to access behavioral health services is about 48 days2. And the Voice of the Purchaser Survey on Behavioral Health Support conducted by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions and HR Policy Association found that only 31% of employers were satisfied with network access for behavioral health services according to a survey of 221 employers that provide health coverage to over 10 million employees and dependents3.

Question: Is there a one-size-fits-all solution to accessible employee mental and emotional health support?

Answer: No. In addition to long wait times to see certain providers, what support employees need is as varied as why employees need support. Since no individual is the same, one size does not fit all when it comes to benefit solutions, and this is true for mental and emotional health support as well. Wellbeing programs that include health coaching help bridge the gaps between other siloed benefits and can actually help employees navigate and better utilize the full spectrum of benefits they have available through their employer.

Question: How does health coaching fit into the benefits ecosystem and solve for timely access?

Answer: Health coaching provides accessible human support with the purpose of helping individuals identify how they can begin to improve their wellbeing, what additional resources they may need and how to access those additional resources.

Health coaching participants can typically schedule a session with a WellSpark health coach as early as the next business day. Scheduling a session is based primarily on what day and time is convenient for the participant. In the most urgent circumstances, participants are often able to message their coach through the WellSpark platform and coaches have flexibility to accommodate urgent requests.

This access to human support is critical to help individuals navigate their wellbeing path whenever the individual needs the support. Each person’s experience is unique, and everyone is on their own health journey. Health coaching supports people by giving them timely access to someone to guide them along the way and, when needed, bridge the gap until access is available to other providers.


1Merritt Hawkins accessed April 26, 2023 from https://www.merritthawkins.com/trends-and-insights/ article/surveys/2022-physician-wait-times-survey/

2National Council for Mental Health Wellbeing accessed April 26, 2023 from https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/news/certified-community-behavioral-health-clinics-providing-expanded-access-to-mental-health-substance-use-care-during-covid-19-pandemic/

3National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions and HR Policy Association accessed April 27, 2023 from https://www.nationalalliancehealth.org/news/news-press-releases/voice-purchaser-survey