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A Multicultural Approach to Mental Health for Global Employers

This May, Mental Health Awareness Month serves as a poignant reminder for global employers to prioritize mental health, especially in distributed workplaces. Global remote work has brought forth unique challenges that can make it difficult for employees to present their best selves.

Differences in locations, time zones, languages, and cultures can all impact well-being. To mitigate the impact, employers can focus on understanding and addressing the nuances of remote work and varying cultural contexts.

By comprehending the factors affecting your employees’ mental health, you can develop strategies and offer solutions specific to their needs. 

In this article, we’ll delve into where to start with mental health for multinational employees and how to best support them.

Challenges to remote employee wellness

A good starting point is to look into what’s mentally plaguing your employees every day. Acknowledging, understanding, and addressing global remote workers’ mental health challenges is a great place to start. 

23% of remote workers struggle with loneliness and isolation since daily interactions and social connections are limited. Communication and language barriers exacerbate these issues by reducing clarity and increasing the chance of misunderstandings.

Those are commonly known obstacles, but to truly support your employees, it’s best to look at the factors below the surface. 44% of employees around the world are dealing with stress, anxiety, and even anger throughout the workday. 

Employers are increasingly offering mental health resources to help employees combat these negative feelings, but you can’t just throw any old one-size-fits-all strategy together. Your employees come from various backgrounds and cultures that significantly determine how mental health solutions are perceived and accepted.

Culture makes a difference

Different cultures have distinct approaches to how they perceive mental health, shaped by historical, social, religious, and cultural factors. Grasping how your employees view mental health helps determine what mental wellness resources are needed to support your global teams in each region. 

Varying perspectives on mental health

Gain an understanding of their culture, how it affects their mental health, and what’s acceptable as treatment. Different cultures have contrasting views, so a one-size-fits-all solution won’t accommodate everyone.

For instance, in Western cultures there’s an increased tendency to view mental health through a biomedical lens emphasizing genetics, brain chemistry, and neurological factors.

Eastern cultures, meanwhile, are potentially more influenced by traditional beliefs and practices, emphasizing interconnectedness, balance, and harmony between the mind, body, and spirit.

While globalization means these differences are not as pronounced as they might once have been, they remain useful indicators to bear in mind.

Cultural stigmas

Some cultures are actively trying to destigmatize mental health and encouraging people to seek help, but it’s not the same everywhere. Employees from cultures with mental health stigmas may need assistance in pursuing and accepting treatment.

Some countries highly stigmatize mental health, causing individuals to avoid help so they don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. On the other hand, someone from another location may feel more comfortable receiving treatment and is likely to have support from others to do so. It’s vital, therefore, to actively ensure employees are making the most of the resources available to them.

Lack of mental health accessibility

Of course, mental health may not be readily accessible for every employee, like, for instance, workers in Zambia and Sierra Leone. Zambia’s mental health facilities lack skilled specialists, medicine, and other much-needed supplies. Sierra Leone’s communities don’t have mental health services readily available and have to travel a great distance to the nearest psychiatric hospital. Once they arrive, they experience the same conditions as in Zambia.

They’re far from the only countries experiencing such issues, but a properly provisioned mental health benefit offering may be able to overcome these structural inequalities.

Supporting your global workforce

Comprehension of these nuances allows you to tailor your approach and deliver meaningful resources

Education and awareness

Provide education and awareness programs to address mental health stigmas and promote understanding of diverse cultural perspectives. Offer training sessions, workshops, and content that challenge stereotypes and reduce mental health misconceptions.

Anonymous and confidential support options

Anonymous and confidential mental health options empower employees to seek help on their own time and when they’re comfortable. Resources like helplines, online counseling services, and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) give employees privacy and a culturally sensitive environment.

Make mental health resources accessible

If mental health resources aren’t within your employees’ reach, you can make them more convenient. Telemedicine and virtual telehealth are options that provide direct access to therapy, assessments, referrals, and follow-up services.

Global mental health benefits

Offering mental health benefits provides employees with localized and in-person care when and where it’s available. This includes access to skilled mental health professionals who provide therapy sessions, psychiatric care, counseling, and medications.

Global mental health benefits can encompass virtual support platforms that are user-friendly for you and your employees, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), and other resources tailored to the needs and preferences of your organization.

Selecting a global mental health solution

Choosing a global mental health benefits solution involves evaluating several factors to ensure comprehensive coverage and support. It’s imperative to consider the provider’s international coverage.

Look for providers with a vast multinational network of mental health professionals and resources to assure accessibility across multiple regions. You want services offered in various languages and to be familiar with varying cultural norms.

Verify that the benefits provider offers flexible and customizable plans so that employees’ mental health benefits can be tailored to their cultural background and demographics.

Consider using a provider that leverages technology to effectively deliver mental health services to your employees, particularly in remote work environments. Mobile apps, telemedicine platforms, intuitive interfaces, and other digital tools enhance accessibility and convenience.

How Multiplier can help

Multiplier specializes in offering benefits plans that comply with local regulations and offer cultural sensitivity. Multiplier’s robust and comprehensive benefits packages, with unique per-country offerings in various tiers, can help you win employee confidence and make them feel protected and valued.

Learn more about how we can assist you in developing a comprehensive global mental health benefits plan to support your workforce’s mental well-being.

Speak with one of our experts.

Will Smith
Will Smith

Content Writer

Will is a Content Writer at Multiplier. With a background in technology journalism, he is passionate about busting jargon, getting to the heart of complex topics, and writing pieces you'll enjoy reading.

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