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Reproductive rights post-Roe: Why now, more than ever, mental health needs to be a top priority for employers

By Accolade | October 18, 2022 | 3 min read

The consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade have been vast and far reaching. One of the most immediate impacts has been the effect on mental health. And unfortunately, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health in the U.S. has already been on a decline. 

Now with changes being made to reproductive freedom and healthcare access, the result will only worsen.[1] And the impact is high — especially for marginalized groups such as people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals — groups that already face several hurdles when trying to access the healthcare they need.  

Employers are now faced with what to do about reproductive rights in the workplace. This is a complex issue, and there are no easy answers. However, one thing that is clear is that your employee’s mental health must be a top priority in the context of reproductive rights.  

Since the verdict this past June, we’ve seen an increase in behavioral health utilization among our members, including pregnant people and their partners. This number is expected to rise. With so much at stake, it’s more important than ever to make sure employees feel supported and safe in the workplace. 

Create a safe environment for employees to ask questions

There are several things that companies can do to support their employees’ mental health during this time of uncertainty. First, it is important to create an open and safe space where employees feel comfortable talking about their concerns and fears. This can be done by establishing clear channels of communication and making sure that there is someone available to talk to if employees need it.  

Prioritize your employees’ mental health

Now more than ever, it’s important for employers to prioritize the mental health of their employees and their families. With laws that are still changing state-by-state and the full ramifications on reproductive healthcare unknown, strong emotions are likely to continue.  

This opinion has caused a wave of emotions across the country. Even though it’s been months since the ruling, people are still grappling with its effects. A large change like this can take months or years to fully adapt to. It’s important that your employees know where they can turn for mental health resources and help.  

Reminding your people about what mental healthcare benefits are covered is a good place to start. This doesn’t just mean coverage for therapy and psychiatry, but other wellness benefits you may offer, like covered guided meditation apps, yoga classes or support groups. Make sure your employees know what benefits they have and that they are easy to access 24/7. 

Making mental health a priority in the workplace is essential in today’s climate. With so much uncertainty and change, it’s more important than ever to support employees in every way possible. And a supported workforce can ultimately lead to increased productivity and higher retention. 

If you would like to learn more about Accolade’s mental health offerings, please contact a representative today. We also invite you to read more about our integrated virtual primary and mental healthcare solution, Accolade Care. 

[1] https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/

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