Why Mental Health Needs To Be On Every Company’s 2020 Agenda
We Are Experiencing A Mental Health Crisis
- One in five Americans manage a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year.
- Up to 80% of people will manage a diagnosable mental health condition in their lifetime.
- On average, individuals must wait up to 25 days for a psychiatry appointment; waiting comes at significant cost to both the employer and health plan.[i]
Putting off care for behavioral health needs can increase medical spend by up to 300%.
For Employers, Worker Productivity And Retention Are At Extreme Risk
Mental health conditions significantly impact workforce productivity; over 200 million workdays are lost due to mental health conditions each year — the equivalent of $16.8 billion lost in employee productivity. By putting off behavioral health needs, medical spend can increase by up to 300%. Unsupported mental health conditions lead to employee absenteeism and presenteeism, which cost US businesses billions annually from losses in productivity, engagement, and retention. According to Mind Share Partners’ “Mental Health at Work 2019” report, 50% of Millennial and 75% of Generation Z workers reported having left a job due (at least in part) to mental health reasons.[ii]
Virtual Care Provides A Scalable And Lower-Cost Delivery Vehicle For Mental Health Support
With the market facing staffing shortages, new offerings including virtual coaching platforms have emerged and gained traction. Enrollment for virtual health support for mental health is on the rise, and Forrester predicts that in 2020, one out of 11 mental health visits will be delivered virtually.
To improve both the member and employee experience, and reduce attrition, health insurers and employers must invest in offering access to behavioral health support, including access to virtual care services as a delivery vehicle — a significantly more economically palatable option. A mobile-first approach catalyzes and supports on-demand access to drive higher rates of engagement. Mobile-first also enables those employees and members most in need of care to gain access to mental health support 24x7x365.
Three Steps To Start Improving The Mental Health Of Your Workforce
A paradigm shift in the perception of mental health must occur within your organization. Human capital management can start catalyzing this transformation by:
- Surveying the workforce. Begin with an employee engagement and satisfaction survey to gauge the employee experience (EX) with a focus on burnout, stress, and happiness at work. These indicators will provide a pulse on where your organization stands and a baseline to measure future programs, initiatives, and technologies against. Be prepared to act on what really matters to employees. Set up a continual EX feedback loop to enable an agile approach to improve the mental well-being of employees. See Forrester’s report, “The Employee Experience Imperative,” for ways you can go beyond a survey to build a business case and improve EX across the org.
- Finding a virtual care technology partner. Partner with a vendor that not only has a leading product offering and human-to-human support but also the ability to educate and train the workforce to better manage and bring awareness to their mental health. Begin an RFP or, even better, a POC process to discover virtual care technology vendors offering on-demand mental health services. Examples of vendors working with employers and health plans in the space include Ginger, Lyra, Spring Health, Talkspace, Happify Health, and Modern Health.
- Creating the right cultural shift. Culture change cannot occur without coming from the top down. Get executive buy-in and task organizational leaders with creating an “open” atmosphere around mental health. Employees should feel encouraged to discuss stress, anxiety, and depression with their superiors and know their superiors are invested in helping them overcome those feelings.
Want to see our other four big predictions for 2020? Check out the full predictions report here. Want to discuss potential vendor partners for your needs? Request an inquiry to discuss the capabilities you should be looking for in a vendor partner.
[i] Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (https://www.samhsa.gov/)
[ii] Source: Bernie Wong, “We Need A New Kind Of Business Leader: Why 50% Of Millennial And 75% Of Gen-Z Workers Have Left Jobs Because Of Their Mental Health,” Forbes, October 31, 2019 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/mindsharepartners/2019/10/31/we-need-a-new-kind-of-business-leader-for-mental-health/#4df4f7886c90)