Mental Health Awareness Month seems more important this year than ever before as people are reeling from the stress, isolation, changes, and uncertainty that have been a part of our lives for more than two years. Even the most stable among us will confess to feelings of anxiety in a fear-filled world.
We recently noticed in the news that the international corporation, Wal-Mart, has recognized the effects of this time period on the mental health of millions of people. In a statement at their corporate website’s newsroom we read the following:
“May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the U.S. For many of us, the last 24 months of living in the shadow of a global pandemic has brought prolonged isolation from our friends and colleagues and introduced new levels of anxiety and fear many of us have never experienced before. And considering the growing level of unease created by economic, political and social uncertainty in the world, May is the right time for us to have a real conversation about mental health challenges and help reduce the stigma so many people are experiencing.” The article goes on to talk about a new mental health inspired program they are launching.
Inspired by this effort, we have asked Samantha Hicks, AMS Senior Programs Administrator, to tell us the ways that AMS is recognizing this issue and what programs are offered our employees to help them in dealing with these challenges.
Q: AMS Fulfillment offers very good benefits and options to our employees. Is there anything in particular that AMS is doing in response to the mental health challenges?
Mental illnesses such as depression are associated with higher rates of disability and unemployment. Even after taking other health risks—like smoking and obesity—into account, employees at high risk of depression had the highest health care costs during the 3 years after an initial health risk assessment.
Depression interferes with a person’s ability to complete physical job tasks about 20% of the time and reduces cognitive performance about 35% of the time.
Life is not always easy. Sometimes a personal or professional issue can get in the way of maintaining a healthy, productive life. AMS offers all of our employees a free Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that can be the answer for employees and their family 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employees can trust EAP professionals to assess their needs and handle their concerns in a confidential, respectful manner, finding solutions that are responsible to their needs.
Although the mind and body are often viewed as being separate, mental and physical health are actually closely related. Good mental health can positively affect our physical health which is why AMS health promotion programs have proven to be successful, especially when they combine mental and physical health interventions. AMS offers Free health insurance for qualifying employees including: medical, dental, vision, basic life/ AD&D, short term and long term disability, accident insurance, and employee assistance program.
AMS offers a company match on 401K as we recognize the importance of having a comprehensive benefits program. Our program is designed to provide employees and their families a variety of plans with tools that promote health and wellness. We are committed to making every effort to provide benefits that support the lifestyles and needs of our employees.
- Through our health insurance, employees can earn up to $200* for completing the health and wellness activities survey and they can access activities designed for them, based on their health survey. For each Health Action an employee completes, they earn a point which can be redeemed for rewards. Plus, employees can earn financial incentives.
- Virtual 24/7 doctor’s visits have made this a convenient option for our employees when they or their family need care. Employees have multi-channel access to their health insurance information and support when and how they need it.
- Employees have access to a free exclusive discount program allowing them to browse through thousands of the small or big things that can make life a little easier.
- Experiencing an emergency while traveling can be a very difficult and stressful experience. Knowing who to call for medical problems, currency exchange issues or lost luggage is critical. Included in our health insurance is Worldwide Travel Assistance, so employees can take comfort in knowing they have access to a network of professionals who can help in an emergency.
Through our Advanced Leadership Training, our Supervisors, Managers, and Directors learn the true meaning of empathy, compassion, and cooperation when their Team member opens up to them with personal issues. Human connection is the number one predictor of happiness, so when company leaders prioritize recognizing their employees and showing appreciation regularly, this creates stronger personal relationships and loyalty. Employee morale improves on an individual level when leaders grasp the genuine purpose of appreciation. Employees leave work with a strong sense of worth. Workers, in general, have a higher sense of well-being and job satisfaction. As a result, group morale rises, and a sense of respect and positivism pervades the workplace.
AMS Incentive Programs: Spot Award Gift Card to the Prize Room, Employee of the Month, New Hire Celebrations, and a Volunteer Committee to increase employee participation in company culture and community events.
During the start of COVID, AMS launched the WE CARE PROGRAM providing quality support and resources for our employees who are currently facing serious financial challenges.
- Non-Perishable Food Donation
- Thanksgiving Family Meal (immediate employee household)
- Holiday Gift Donation (immediate employee household)
- Employee Assistance Program (childcare, financial, emotional, legal)
- Training and Development Courses at AMS Learning Center
- Coronavirus Relief Fund, the CARES Act
- Local Clothing, Food, Shelter, and Rehab Location Centers
- Free Accident Insurance through Mutual of Omaha
- Paid Family Leave Assistance through EDD
When you strengthen an employee, you strengthen a company, when you strengthen a company, you strengthen the community.
AMS will always continue to promote awareness about the importance of mental health and stress management in the workplace.
Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema