Mental health protection for the workforce


KUALA LUMPUR: The prevalence of mental health issues continues to rise with it affecting every aspect of one’s life, especially at the workplace.

A study by Relate Malaysia found that in 2018, 4.57 million working adults reported mental health issues with 29% of employees indicating that they have poor mental health.

In 2019, the Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality survey reported that the Malaysian workforce was increasingly sleep deprived and overworked, with 51% of them suffering from at least one dimension of work-related stress and 53% getting less than seven hours of sleep per day.

Understanding the need to help organisations better address mental health issues at the workplace, AIA has launched a first-in-market Mental Health Solution, in collaboration with ThoughtFull, a Southeast Asian-based digital mental health platform.

This new solution enables employers to provide better care and end-to-end support for their people’s mental wellbeing.

“We’re seeing more and more members of the workforce struggle with mental wellness, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

"It is detrimental not only to the individual’s emotional wellbeing, but also to the nation’s productivity.

"Organisations who are looking to foster a healthy and happy environment for their employees while staying ahead of their competition would have to play a more active role in addressing mental health issues at the workplace,” said Tung Hsiao Ley, chief corporate solutions officer, AIA Bhd.

The new Mental Health Solution is part of WorkWell with AIA, a proposition under the insurer’s Total Corporate Solutions. WorkWell with AIA offers a suite of solutions and services that provides guidance to organisations who are seeking to nurture and improve their employees’ wellbeing.

The Mental Health Solution comes with two distinct features:

Digital access to mental wellness

> Unlimited 1-on-1 access to professional mental wellness coaches for daily bite-sized coaching

> Self-guided learning content and wellness tracker

> Mental wellness programmes, webinars and workshops

> 24/7 wellness hotline for crisis interventions

Coverage for mental health benefit

> Covers employees for consultations, medication and treatment cost provided by a psychiatrist and/or a physician due to a mental health condition

> Includes coverage for the employees’ dependents

> Offers cashless or reimbursement options

The services under mental wellness are made possible through AIA Malaysia’s strategic partnership with ThoughtFull.

Employees covered by the Mental Health Solution will be able to access unlimited 1-on-1 daily coaching with a certified mental wellness professional, track their levels of stress, anxiety and depression in real time, read science-backed digital content and use mood trackers and guided thought journals via the ThoughtFull app.

Being a responsible and progressive corporate, AIA Malaysia leads by example, having engaged ThoughtFull at the very start of the pandemic in 2020, to provide mental health support to its employees.

Through ThoughtFull’s employee wellbeing programmes, AIA’s employees reported a 43% average reduction in depression, anxiety and stress levels.

Additionally, employees who engaged with a certified mental health professional through the app also reported positive changes in their outlook and behaviour.

“It was important for us to be able to support our people to strengthen their resilience so that they could thrive through the multitude of sudden and ongoing changes at work and in their personal lives," said Tung.

"We worked with ThoughtFull because of their genuine and seamless approach to mental wellness at the workplace and saw first-hand the benefits that it brought to our employees.

"This only further motivated us to explore how we could bring this service to our own corporate clients."

As one of the country’s largest employee benefits insurance providers, AIA’s goal is to provide seamless solutions to improve mental wellbeing in companies across Malaysia – removing stigma and creating a safe space at work to foster mental health discussions.

“We’ve long been advocates of the importance of mental health in the workplace and we believe that it should be given just as much priority as we do to physical health," Tung said.

"Which is why we are really excited to partner with ThoughtFull to bring new and innovative mental health services to our corporate clients and their employees, under our WorkWell with AIA proposition.

“With the launch of our comprehensive Mental Health Solution, we believe that we have achieved a breakthrough in responding to a market need that is very real.

"Employers can now feel supported as they prioritise their employees’ mental health, giving their people access to support and resources that will help them achieve a better quality of life resulting in a happier, healthier and more productive workforce,” Tung concluded.

To learn more about AIA’s Mental Health Solution, visit https://www.aia.com.my/en/our-products/employee-benefits.html.

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