After the incredible, life-altering events of 2020, how can companies apply the lessons of that year for a happier, healthier workforce in 2021? While no one can perfectly predict the future, one thing is for certain: in order to survive, companies, and their workforces, will need to remain healthy and adaptive to rapid change.

Mental healthcare benefits are a vital part of employee well-being. Without effective access to treatment, companies and their workforce tend to suffer a host of problems, from billions of dollars of lost productivity to chronic mental illness. Luckily, identifying the problems has also helped us identify the solutions. The good news is that the changes American employees would like to see to their mental healthcare benefits are well within the scope of organizations and their healthcare providers. Most of these solutions stem from greater flexibility and access.

To better understand the experience of American employees, Spring Health commissioned The Harris Poll to conduct an online survey of 972 employed U.S. adults about the level of care they received from their employer-sponsored mental healthcare plan in 2020 and what care they need in order to achieve better mental health in 2021. Here are the key findings of that survey.

Who is seeking mental healthcare?

  • Nearly half of U.S. employees (49%) sought mental healthcare in 2020.
  • Of those who sought mental healthcare in 2020, 38% say their desire to manage emotions related to the coronavirus pandemic influenced them to seek care.

What problems are associated with employer health plans?

  • 43% of U.S. employees who sought mental healthcare last year say their employer-sponsored health plan mental health benefits did not meet all of their mental healthcare needs in 2020.
  • More than a quarter (26%) of U.S. employees who sought mental healthcare in 2020 described the care they received as substandard.

What mental healthcare benefit offerings U.S. employees say would help them to achieve better mental health in 2021

  • 21% cite a simpler way to determine which therapists or psychiatrists in their network specialize in the mental health concern they have.
  • 19% cite a simplified way to find out which therapists or psychiatrists in their network are taking new clients
  • 15% say access to a professional care navigator to help them figure out what type of care would be best for them would help them achieve better mental health in 2021.
  • 17% say the option to easily make mental healthcare appointments through their computer or smartphone would help them achieve better mental health in 2021.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 (17%) cite a simplified way to find out which therapists or psychiatrists in their network share their ethnic, LGBTQ, or other personal background.
  • 19% cite lower copays for therapy or medication management appointments.
  • Meanwhile, 17% cite employer-funded therapy or medication management appointments.
  • 17% say an option to quickly change psychiatrists or therapists if they need to would help them achieve better mental health in 2021.
  • 18% cite shorter wait times for therapy or medication management appointments.
  • 19% cite their therapy or medication management sessions to have a virtual option. During the pandemic, virtual sessions, or teletherapy, became both a popular and pragmatic solution to providing healthcare in a safe way for both patients and therapists.
  • An option for online assessments to screen for mental health concerns was also popular, with 16% indicating this is a mental healthcare benefit offering that would help them achieve better mental health in 2021. These online assessments can take the form of self-assessment tests for disorders including depression and other mental illness, which affects nearly one in five Americans.

To learn more about what American employees are facing and how their employers can access better care, download our informative 2021 Guide to Mental Healthcare Benefits.

Survey Method: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Spring Health from December 15-17, 2020 among 972 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact marketing@springhealth.com.

Spring Health
Spring Health

January 19, 2021