Prior to the pandemic, nearly one in five Americans lived with a mental illness, but only 45 percent of that group received mental health support. The stress, fear, anxiety and loneliness brought on by the pandemic has exacerbated the mental health crisis we face in the United States.
A growing number of plan sponsors are recognizing the value of mental health services to address whole-person health. According to a new report by Evernorth on emerging health care trends, almost half of Human Resources decision-makers and more than a quarter of health plan leaders expect increased access to mental health providers to become a long-term need for their organizations.
The study also looked at how consumers view their mental health benefits. It revealed that although many are not proactively managing their mental health today, they plan to embrace a stronger mind-body connection in the future. In fact, while only 14 percent of consumers have participated in stress management support, 35 percent plan to engage in the next year or two. Only 19 percent have participated in mental health support or therapy, while 36 percent plan to engage in the future.
The report also offered insights about the ways HR decision makers and health plan leaders are focusing more on mental health education, since many consumers don’t know how to identify appropriate providers for their condition or situation. However, when asked about ideal employer-sponsored mental health offerings, many consumers said they were seeking benefits and offerings that are more tied to workplace culture, such as mental health days, than to mental health education.
The report shows that consumers and decision-makers alike believe in the value of treating the whole person. As we look ahead, increasing understanding of mental health benefits and improving timely and convenient access to mental health care will become even more crucial.
When it comes to behavioral health, plan sponsors can close the gaps in member needs and expectations by understanding what’s most important to their population, identifying key areas for investment today and in the future, and determining the best way to educate members about the behavioral health benefits available to them.
Our “Health Care in Focus” report identifies three key trends:
- An increased acceptance and adoption of virtual health care solutions
- A proactive quest for whole-person health
- A desire for greater predictability and affordability
Download the full report for an in-depth look at the data and insights.