Mental health has become the focus of the discussion when it comes to employee benefits. As an organization — whether you have remained open, are planning for “return to work” in an office setting, or will continue to keep your workforce remote indefinitely — you need an employee mental health strategy. To set the stage:
- Pre-pandemic, experts reported that one in five Americans will manage a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year, with up to 80% of people managing a diagnosable mental health condition in their lifetime.
- Now, because of the pandemic, 83% of workers have experienced a negative emotion associated with poor mental health. These emotions include anger, anxiety, loneliness, and hopelessness.
Now more than ever, your employees need support. Companies must offer support and change the conversation around mental health or risk business resiliency. Unsupported mental health needs have a direct impact on employee retention, productivity, engagement, and medical spend. Furthermore, mental health providers are in short supply, wait times for an appointment continue to rise, and cost is a hurdle for many.
Mental Health Is Not One Size Fits All; Make An Informed Choice
For those employers that are evaluating and striving to improve employee mental health, many struggle to understand which virtual mental health options are available and what to consider when selecting a vendor to meet their employees’ needs. This report presents an overview of the emerging vendors in the mental health market. Employers should use this report to understand the capabilities within major market segments and to inform their technology strategies.
We identified the following three functionality segments, each with varying degrees of breadth in their capabilities and ability to support specific conditions:
- Targeted digital programs. These solutions offer the deepest level of personalization when compared with other categories, with a focus on specific conditions such as stress and anxiety. They typically use clinical assessments on a continuous basis to adjust patient interventions as needed. These solutions adopt a combination of trained coaches, digital content, AI-enabled chatbots, and analytics to educate and help patients build coping mechanisms.
- Virtual therapy providers. Solutions in this category emphasize therapy and typically focus on specific diagnosable mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Focus is on person-to-person therapy (via face-to-face over phone, video, or in person) through licensed medical professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists.
- Mental wellness platforms. These solutions offer the broadest set of capabilities and support to meet the varying needs of a diverse and large segment of the employee or patient population. These solutions leverage a robust intake process to determine the best treatment option for individuals based on their symptoms and what level of support they are most receptive to. Recognizing that not everyone will need or want to engage over person-to-person therapy, these solutions offer alternative options such as coaches and digital content, as well as therapy from licensed professionals.
Check out Forrester’s latest report, “New Tech: Virtual Mental Health Solutions, Q4 2020,” to learn about vendors’ maturity level and primary functionality, channel, and market focus, as well as how to approach deploying a virtual mental health program for your employees.
Please reach out to schedule an inquiry for a deeper conversation on finding the right mental health solutions for your employees, members, or patients.