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Top 4 barriers to mental healthcare

By Accolade | August 18, 2022 | 4 min read

Mental illness is so common in the United States that nearly one in five adults — roughly 52.9 million people — has been diagnosed with a mental health condition.[1] This costs employers more than $100 billion and resulted in 217 million workdays lost per year.[2] What’s even more alarming is that approximately 85% of U.S. employees who have mental health illnesses go undiagnosed or untreated.[3] We also know that poor mental health can negatively affect job performance, productivity and engagement.[4] So why are these numbers so high? In spite of your people knowing the importance of taking care of their mental health, they may be facing barriers to receiving the mental healthcare they need.   

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with helping your employees, you’re not alone. Here are the top four barriers to mental healthcare and ways you can help your people overcome them.

The stigma around mental healthcare

Employees are feeling more stressed than at any other point in their careers.[5] And conversations regarding mental health can be very difficult — especially in the workplace. One important step to removing the stigma around mental health services is to open the door to meaningful conversations around your people’s wellbeing. However, that is not all. Here are five habits that executives and leaders can adopt to provide a positive work environment for all employees: 

  • Don’t wait for people to come to you — be proactive about asking your people how they are doing 

  • When leaders find themselves in need of emotional or mental support, acknowledging that can create permission for the rest of their team to be more open

  • Model behavior — it all starts from the top 

  • Develop in-house solutions for common issues 

  • Have multiple lines of communication available to employees 

Lack of mental health education and awareness

There is a lack of mental health education and awareness in general in the U.S. It’s an important topic that needs to be addressed. By providing the right education around mental health, employees can feel supported and know where to go for the right treatment. They can also extend that knowledge to their friends and family members.  

At Accolade, we proactively support the mental health needs of the workforce through our true virtual primary and mental healthcare solution, Accolade Care. We identify people with needs, reach out to them and reduce the stigma around seeking mental health services. We don’t separate mental health wellness from physical health. We integrate the two to make sure your people get the full support they need.

Expense of mental healthcare

Mental health issues impact many individuals. This topic has had a spotlight cast on it the past couple of years. For employers, making sure that your people can access the mental healthcare they need  is an increasing concern — and one that’s attached to a growing trend line when it comes to costs. In 2019, spending on mental health care and support reached $225 billion in the U.S.[6] 

However, that doesn’t need to be the case for your company. A study by the independent analysts at Aon showed that, compared to a matched control group, Accolade customers reduced spending for members with mental anxiety conditions by 8% in their first year alone. 

There’s every reason to expect that mental healthcare expenses will continue to rise for businesses each year. However, that trend is different with Accolade. By using data to power personalized advocacy for every member, Accolade’s 24/7 Care Team helps companies provide the right care for their employees while saving on healthcare expenses at the same time.

Accessibility of mental healthcare  

Nearly half of the 60 million U.S. children and adults with mental health conditions go untreated.[7] This is due to the fact that there is not enough mental healthcare providers and with many of them being are out-of-network. And in turn, and in turn, people are experiencing have higher out-of-pocket costs for people. Those living in rural areas are impacted the most as they have the least amount of access to specialty mental health services.[8] 

At Accolade, we want to change all of that. We offer easy access to mental health support with our collaborative care model. Accolade Care is backed by a team of primary care physicians, mental health therapists, nurses, care coordinators and psychiatrists who share clinical data. We take a holistic approach and look at the whole person — whether it’s primary care, mental health support or urgent and chronic care.

It’s time for a holistic approach true virtual primary and integrated mental healthcare

Our primary care physicians work closely with our mental health specialists. It’s an expansive view that doesn’t segment care — instead, these primary care providers are insightful enough to assess a person’s mental health well-being to know when to bring in a mental health professional to provide the right care.

We created Accolade Care to deliver a solution that encompassed the entire spectrum of a person’s well-being. This is our holistic approach that combines primary care and mental health wellness.

To learn more about Accolade Care and how you can provide your people  the mental healthcare they need, contact Accolade today. 

[1] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness

[2] https://hbr.org/2022/01/11-trends-that-will-shape-work-in-2022-and-beyond 

[3] https://namipierce.org/why-employers-need-to-talk-about-mental-illness-in-the-workplace/

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/tools-resources/workplace-health/mental-health/index.html

[5] https://go.ginger.io/hubfs/200626_Ginger_Report2020.pdf  

[6] https://openminds.com/intelligence-report/the-u-s-mental-health-market-225-1-billion-in-spending-in-2019-an-open-minds-market-intelligence-report/

[7] https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Publications-Reports/Public-Policy-Reports/The-Doctor-is-Out

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7681156/

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