Navigating the Path to Wellness with AI - American Society of Employers - Linda Olejniczak

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Navigating the Path to Wellness with AI

path to wellnessEmployer-sponsored mental health benefits are no longer a nice-to-have — they are a necessity. In a recent playbook published by HR Drive, an estimated 90% of organizations have invested in wellness tools such as meditation apps and employee assistance programs (EAP). But these well-being initiatives are not having the impact they should — the number of employees that are still silently struggling is staggering. Rather than seeking support, they take vacation, use sick leave while citing a physical illness, or simply push through.

Technological breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) can now deliver clinically backed support to people in need while allowing them to remain anonymous, making stigma irrelevant. AI conversational care based on cognitive-behavioral techniques (CBT) offers an advantage for broadening mental health care support by breaking down the barriers to accessing mental health care, but not all AI solutions are created equal.  To make sure your organization selects the correct platform, ask these questions:

  1. How are confidentiality and anonymity guaranteed?

Given the stigma around mental health, employees need anonymity to share their mental health status openly.  Make sure the platforms guarantee an environment of trust and privacy.

  1. What happens if a person is in crisis?

Digital mental health tools are not for crisis situations, nor are they intended to replace therapy or care given by clinically trained humans. Ensure that the platform has crisis mode processes in place.

  1. What evidence do you have of success?

AI technologies are so new and quickly evolving in all sectors, including digital mental health, that rigorous academic studies are not widespread. Each platform will have unique success stories.

  1. Should I replace other wellness benefits with a mental health app?

AI conversational care for mental health should be considered an additive benefit rather than an either-or scenario.

It’s been proven that there is an economic benefit to organizations that prioritize employee mental health. A 2021 National Safety Council and NORC at University of Chicago analysis reveals a $4 return for every $1 spent, through “reduced total medical costs, increased productivity, lower absenteeism, and decreased disability costs.” But there is a benefit that is more important than the impact on the bottom line. Organizations that care for their employees and prioritize worker mental health needs are seen as an employer that puts their people first.

ASE Connect

For additional wellness resources visit the ASE Workplace Wellness Resources page.


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