Prioritizing Mental Health for your International Staff

Prioritizing Mental Health for your International Staff


Last updated March 29, 2019 4 minutes read

When it comes to keeping employees healthy, mental health is just as important as any physical condition.

Depression, drug and alcohol abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, eating disorders and mood disorders are among the conditions that can affect mental health, sometimes to the point that performing even the most everyday tasks becomes a challenge. Employees working in high-risk global markets or high-stress jobs may be even more vulnerable to these conditions.

Comprehensive and affective mental health treatment isn’t only necessary for the overall health of employees, it also helps them do their jobs better and cuts down on sick time and staff turnover.

That’s why, over the last decade, there has been a growing parity between physical health and mental health and providing coverage to employees dealing with these issues can help create comprehensive and effective overall health coverage for mind and body.

Substance Abuse Coverage

Drug addiction and abuse is a growing concern, largely because of the opioid crisis, which includes the growing addiction to prescription pain relievers. According to the World Drug Report, there were about 250 million people who used drugs in 2015. Nearly 30 million users deal with problems such as addiction. Of those 30 million, 70 percent of those people used opioids.

To provide coverage for substance abuse, insurance policies should include inpatient and outpatient care, detox, including the use of medications, counseling and maintenance addiction medication. Clements has made these services available in select policies.

Online Psychotherapy

Technology has led to long-distance psychiatric treatment through video chat platforms like Skype. This option is used by various people, including military personnel and individuals working overseas in countries that lack in-person treatment for Westerners. It allows for treatment with a person’s regular therapist or, if starting treatment, with a therapist at the patient’s home country.

According to the American Psychological Association, so-called “Telepsychology” has been practiced for more than 20 years, mostly by people serving in the military. Smart phones have made it more accessible, and it’s widely considered to be effective. However, people with serious mental illness may require in-person treatment. Because Clements Worldwide strongly believes in the mental well-being of its members, some of its health plans include video-counselling remote therapy via phone and online communications such as Skype. It’s an out-patient benefit that provides members access to credible providers who are not available in the patient’s country of residence.

Employee Assistance Programs

An Employee Assistance Program, also known as an EAP, provides certain mental health services to employees who have issues with their personal or work life. These can include confidential assessments, counseling, referrals and follow-up services. According to, the website of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, EAPs help employees who are dealing with issues that affect mental and emotional well-being, including alcohol and substance abuse, stress, grief, family issues and psychological disorders.

Furthermore, counselors work as consultants with managers and supervisors to address challenges faced by employees. Because EAP counselors are experienced with workplace violence, trauma and issues related to emergency response and terrorism, it is an excellent benefit for employees working overseas, especially those in high-risk countries.

Making It Affordable

Affordable coverage for employees is an important step because if people are scared off by high costs, they’re likely to put off or avoid treatment.

The experts at Clements can help create a plan that benefits employees and the organizations they work for through such steps as removing low limits and high deductibles so that employees are motivated to use their benefits. Policies should also improve access by making sure reimbursement rates reflect market prices.

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