Research: More People Use Mental Health Benefits When They Hear That Colleagues Use Them Too

Novartis has trained more than 1,000 employees as Mental Health First Aiders to offer peer-to-peer support for their colleagues. While employees were eager for the training, uptake of the program remains low. To understand why, a team of researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial with 2,400 Novartis employees who worked in the UK, Ireland, India, and Malaysia. Employees were shown one of six framings that were designed to overcome two key barriers: privacy concerns and usage concerns. They found that employees who read a story about their colleague using the service were more likely to sign up to learn more about the program, and that emphasizing the anonymity of the program did not seem to have an impact. Their findings suggest that one way to encourage employees to make use of existing mental health resources is by creating a supportive culture that embraces sharing about mental health challenges at work.

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