During COVID-19, it feels as though a good part of our waking hours are spent online. From working remotely to video doctor visits, we’re living in a digital world. Digital mental health programs have proven to be extremely valuable to those in need of mental, emotional, and behavioral health support during this time. And as we grow more accustomed to connecting with education, resources, and assistance online, it’s clear that increasing investments in digital mental health today will yield better outcomes for overall workforce health. This includes better access to care and better satisfaction now and into the future.
Digital Mental Health Programs
Leading digital mental health programs include cognitive behavior training (CBT) which empowers participants to overcome negative thoughts and unhealthy behaviors. With these programs, participants have immediate, confidential access to resources based on sound research and evidence. Cognitive behavior training is proven to generate positive, sustainable behavior change and positive outcomes. And when participants need greater assistance beyond self-paced education and training, digital mental health programs serve as a gateway to getting the employee health solutions that are needed, when they are needed.
Anytime, Anywhere Rapid Access
Consider these statistics from America’s Mental Health 2018 produced by the National Council for Behavioral Health:
- 46% of adults say they wouldn’t know where to go if they needed to seek mental health services for themselves or a family member.
- Only 25% of adults believe that mental health services are extremely accessible to the American public.
- 96 million adults say they’ve had to wait longer than one week for mental health services
- Almost half say they or someone they know has had to travel more than one hour round trip to receive mental health help.
During the pandemic, accessibility is an even larger issue because mental health provider offices have (and many still are) closed. Even when an in-office experience is available, general guidance for social distancing is leading many people to remain on “lock down” and thus uncomfortable with in person visits. While more people are saying their mental health has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, their ability to seek the care they need is severely limited. This decreases the value of even the best mental health benefits for employees.
All of this illustrates a need for greater access to mental health and wellness solutions for employees during this pandemic, regardless of where they are located or what limitations they may have. Digital mental health programs eliminate barriers to care. Instead, participants are able to access the best mental health care they need, when they need it, from wherever they are.
Lower Cost for You and Your Employees
Improving employee mental health can lead to improvements in physical health, better productivity, and lower absenteeism. According to a recent study, digital mental health programs can also potentially reduce many of the direct and indirect costs associated with care through more efficient care delivery. Therefore, reducing physical health care costs associated with untreated comorbid mental illness and the need for in-person visits.
Even among those with considerable mental health benefits, many perceive mental health programs as costly. The appeal of digital mental health programs is avoiding potentially expensive, in-person care. A study done by The Ohio State University looked at barriers to access that led to high costs for patients. They found that people with mental health conditions had cost-sharing payments for out-of-network care that were $341 higher per year on average than those with diabetes.
Offering employees a digital mental health program is one of the most least expensive ways to extend affordable, accessible mental health services to all employees. Not only does it save everyone money, it also demonstrates a desire to want your employees to lead healthier, happier, and more fulfilled lives.