One of the big projects I’ve been working on at Skillcrush this year is improving our benefits package. Some we immediately improved or started offering, others are going on our long-term benefits roadmap.

One of the ideas that came up recently was a desire to support team members in taking care of their mental health.

Our company insurance plans cover mental health services, but not everyone has insurance with us – our provider won’t cover anyone working less than 20 hours a week, for example. (We also have a number of independent contractors, international team members, and employees who are covered under their partner’s plan instead.)

We started looking into mental health benefits that would work for our remote team – stipends, remote subscriptions, or some combination thereof. We’re still figuring out what makes the most sense and when we could start offering such a thing, but realized some of our research could be helpful on its own.

We added a page to our internal wiki that includes plain-language about what our company insurance does and doesn’t cover, how to find an in-network provider, and some general tips that team members shared in our weekly sprint review meeting.

Most of the information is fairly basic but, if there’s anything I’ve learned as our company’s benefits administrator, it’s that no one really understands how insurance works. (I definitely didn’t before I started this job!) Team members who’ve never sought therapy, for example, may not know how to go about finding a provider, or that some specialists will meet with you remotely.

Anything we can do to make it easier for people to seek out support when they need it is worth it the effort in my book. And in an effort to make it easier for you to make it easier for them, I’ve included a generalized version of our wiki page below. If it could be helpful for your team, copy/paste away.

And if you’ve had any experience with mental health benefits, or suggestions on how to improve the information below, I’d love to hear from you!


Mental Health Services

Here at [COMPANY], we believe that it’s important to take care of our mental health just like we do our physical health. We’ve put together this resource in an effort to support team members in doing just that.

We all need support, all the time, and asking for it is a sign of strength, not weakness. You are awesome, life is hard, and we’re all in this together.

Insurance Coverage

Both of our insurance plans offer coverage for in-person mental health services, such as visits with a psychologist or psychiatrist. These services are charged under the specialist co-payment – which is [PRICE] under the [A] plan and [PRICE] under the [B] plan.

Neither plan requires you to get a referral from your primary physician first. You can find an in-network provider by following the instructions below.

Any inpatient care recommended by your doctor will need to be pre-certified by the insurance company. You can reach them at NUMBER.

And don’t forget, you can also contact our case manager, [NAME], if you have any questions about our coverage. They can be reached at EMAIL or PHONE, and will keep all inquiries confidential.

In-Network Providers

Your network of covered doctors and hospitals is the same, regardless of which company health plan you have chosen.

You can see what local providers are covered by following these directions:

[INSRUCTIONS HERE!]

Tips for Finding Providers

Finding the right provider may be easier in some areas than others. Here are some tips on finding the right fit.

  • If your preferred provider doesn’t accept insurance, or the co-pays are a financial stretch, ask about sliding scale payments based on your income or financial situation.
  • Ask if phone or Skype calls are a possibility. Some doctors will offer remote therapy for patients who find it difficult to get to their office, even if they usually see patients in person.
  • Consider online options like BetterHelp, Breakthrough, Online-Therapy.com, Talkspace or free ones like 7cups, BlahTherapy, or Prevail.

In Case of Crisis or Emergency

  • Contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
  • Text HOME to 741741 for support from crisistextline.org.
  • Go to the nearest emergency health center.
  • Call 911, or the emergency services number in your country.

Suggestions

If you have tips that you think will be helpful for other team members, we encourage you to edit this page directly!

If you have suggestions on how we can improve this resource, feel free to contact any member of the [NAME] Team. We’d love your feedback!

Shout to Kelli and Kayla, who provided most of the info in this template, and Adda, our supportive CEO, who actively encourages us to talk about this stuff.