Consumer / Employer,Health Tech

Survey: 85% of Employees Don’t Use Their Mental Health Benefits

More than half of employees said they don’t have mental health benefits in their benefit package or aren’t sure if they do, according to a new survey. About two-thirds of respondents said they would use a digital mental health benefit if it was offered to them.

随着心理健康危机仍在继续,一个新的surveyreveals the key challenges employees face in accessing their mental health benefits through their health plans.

About 85% of employees don’t use the mental health benefits that are available to them through their health plans, according to a survey fromAmwell,一个小时ybrid care platform. This is partially due to employees not being aware of what mental health benefits are offered in their benefit package, not knowing how to access their benefits and finding their benefits confusing. More than half of respondents said they don’t have mental health benefits in their benefit package or aren’t sure if they do.

“Health plan leaders and employers need to improve and accelerate education so employees fully understand what benefits are available and how to use them,” the report stated. “Simply providing more comprehensive solutions to meet the spectrum of needs is not enough; the mental health benefits should be clearly detailed. Finally, health plans and employers should partner with solutions that can deliver engaging and personalized experiences, including support in validating coverage and finding in-network providers.”

The survey was conducted in late 2022 by Regina Corso Consulting and included responses from 1,500 employed adults in the U.S.

About 56% of respondents said they have never seen a therapist, despite 40% saying they’ve experienced an increase in need for mental health treatment. There has also been a decrease in in-person therapy visits: 18% of employees saw a therapist in person before the pandemic and 9% have seen a therapist in person since the pandemic. Of those who tried to use their mental health benefits, half said there was a waiting period.

“The business community has taken meaningful steps to be more open about mental health in the workplace and offer better benefits in this area,” said Ken Cahill, Amwell chief behavioral health officer, in an email. “But it’s time to move beyond the rhetoric that it’s ‘okay to not feel okay’ and to stop limiting employee mental health options to in-person care.”

Amwell also found that 53% of respondents want their health plan to provide access to online resources and digital programs to help them manage their mental health. Another 48% of employees want online human support. However, 97% of the respondents said they’ve never used a digital-based mental health service. But among those who have, 91% had a “positive or neutral experience,” according to the report. About two-thirds of respondents said they would use a digital mental health benefit if it was offered to them.

“Health plans and employers must meet members where they are and provide digital mental health solutions that can break down barriers of accessibility,” the report stated. “In addition, they must consider comprehensive mental health benefits inclusive of online programs, live virtual counseling, and chat-based solutions to meet a broad spectrum of needs. Health plans and employers should consider partners that are comprehensive, scalable, and easily integrated with their existing digital ecosystem.”

In addition, employees are looking for mental health coverage for their children. More than four in five respondents said mental health coverage for their children is more important than for themselves, and 69% said they are more worried about their kids’ mental health since the pandemic than they were before.

“With the rise in youth mental health needs and parental concern for their children’s mental health, the desire for accessible digital mental health solutions through applicable health plans will undoubtedly rise in tandem, as younger generations are often more accepting of the adoption of innovative technologies,” the report said.

Photo credit: Bohdan Skrypnyk, Getty Images