Town & Country FCU prioritizes employee mental health with new benefit

SCARBOROUGH — Town & Country Federal Credit Union has become one of the first organizations in Maine to introduce a new mental health benefit for employees. In partnership with UNUM Behavioral Health, the new benefit provides all Town & Country staff and their immediate family members ages 18 and older free access to a variety of mental health solutions, programs and resources and of well-being.

Recognizing that the past two-plus years have added stress, anxiety and depression to people of all ages, Town & Country has proactively sought something to not only help employees and family members currently struggling, but to provide multiple options to help staff prevent or mitigate potentially future mental health and wellbeing challenges.

According to Betsy St. Pierre, human resources manager at Town & Country FCU, who was part of the team that suggested and ultimately implemented the new benefit, “Mental health is at the top of the list of day-to-day challenges. workplace. The first obstacle I always encountered was “I can’t afford it”, and it’s really sad if someone needs help and can’t afford it. We put in their hands the tools they need to self-manage their mental health.This is available to all employees, whether or not they participate in our health benefits plan, and insurance is not involved.

Since its launch as part of Credit Union’s recognition of May’s designation as “Mental Health Awareness” month, more than 40% of TCFCU staff have already signed up for the new benefit, and feedback from the Staff have been overwhelmingly positive with St. Pierre adding, “Staff across the organization have been both surprised that this is now available for free and truly grateful that it is. It was really exciting to roll it out and hear the reaction from the staff.

Maxime Guillaume, associate vice president of workplace wellness and chief executive of UNUM Behavioral Health, which administers the program, explained: “We are all at a different place on the mental health spectrum during the year. . One month we are doing very well, and another month we are having more challenges. Maine faces a shortage of therapists, which can make it harder to get help for anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. St. Pierre agreed, noting, “The struggle is, it’s just hard to find a counselor who accepts patients and can get an appointment and by the time they do, they really need that appointment like tomorrow, yesterday, last week.”

“You lose people along the way if you think about the life cycle of starting help-seeking, which is the most important first step. If you ask people to wait weeks and weeks, you risk losing motivation along the way,” Guillaume said. “If you can compress that time, you can help ensure people get the support they need.”

UNUM Behavioral Health said the program it offers and is offered by Town & Country includes three different “pathways” of support:

• Self-study programs with exercises that help people identify symptoms and triggers of stress, and develop strategies to prevent them.
• A coaching program via an application: it combines a chat-based coach and peer support, virtual workshops, etc.
• A 12-week treatment program, also via app, for people suffering from depression, burnout and anxiety, with support from licensed clinicians

St. Pierre said she hopes more employees and their families will take advantage of the new benefit, if only for check-in. “We do physical exams every year. Why don’t we regularly make time for our mental health? said Saint-Pierre. “You have to take care of yourself in order to be able to take care of others. I think being among the first employers to offer such a comprehensive benefit, in partnership with UNUM Behavioral Health, speaks volumes about how Town & Country values ​​its employees and their overall well-being.

As the second largest credit union in Maine with nearly 40,000 members, Town & Country is a full-service financial institution offering a wide range of financial products and services to people who live, work, go to school or pray in Cumberland and York counties. Maine’s only credit union named by Forbes as one of “Maine’s Best Credit Unions” in three of the past five years, the credit union has assets of $515 million and is among the most large network of branches in the country. To learn more, visit http://www.tcfcu.com.

Lance B. Holton