October 15 2021

Getting people access to the mental health care they need

By Accolade

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Does it seem like the people in your organization are struggling with their mental health or being more open about their issues? It's not your imagination: The rate of mental health issues has more than doubled during COVID. [1]

Mental health is an important factor in everyone’s well-being. That’s why we’re focusing on making access to primary and mental health care easier. It’s a new virtual-first approach, and it’s called Accolade Care

It goes beyond traditional telehealth services, which tends to focus on urgent or episodic care. Instead, it delivers a true virtual primary care and mental health support experience that’s built on a collaborative care model and human-to-human connections.

We believe healthcare is a human experience — that’s why Accolade Care is powered by human relationships. Our 24/7 Care Team is always available to provide support and our network of top-tier primary care physicians (PCPs) work hand-in-hand with our mental health specialists to break down the silos between physical and mental health. And our providers are available by video, phone or messaging — whatever works best for anyone needing care. 

This approach helps people avoid high-cost emergency room or urgent care visits and decreases mental health symptoms at the same time. Members reported a 31% decrease in depression symptoms after utilizing Accolade Care.

The need for mental health awareness and services continues to grow

Mental health wellness is a trend that employers and their HR teams are monitoring closely. Many organizations are working to destigmatize these issues in the workplace . But despite having more of these kinds of conversations, people’s mental health well-being remains a concern

According to a 2021 study [2], 70% of employers see the mental health of their employees as a significant issue in the workplace. But providing access to traditional therapy options hasn’t effectively addressed the issue, especially when more than one-third of Americans live in areas that lack easy access to mental health professionals. [3]

People need an easier way to gain access to mental health therapists — and an approach that takes a person’s physical health into account as well. 

There has never been a greater need for mental health support ,” Dr. Brian Wong, medical director of population health at Accolade, said. 

Primary and mental health care for the whole person

Our collaborative care model offers an expansive network of providers and treatment options. People can get same-day appointments or simply speak with a Care Team member to find out where to go for what they need.

We’ve also made it a priority to establish long-term relationships between providers and patients. We’re very intentional about strengthening this connection, and we ensure these interactions aren’t one-offs. In fact, our physicians, mental health therapists and specialists accompany each person on every step of their journey.

This allows for a truly longitudinal relationship and ensuring better, more informed treatment decisions that can lead to improved outcomes.

“Putting the patient at the center of care should be the focus — it should always be about people and providing the right whole-person care,” Dr. James Wantuck, associate chief medical officer at Accolade, said.

With Accolade Care, your people receive virtual primary care and mental health support that takes a holistic approach that’s based in our collaborative care model to ensure they gain access to the support they need, when they need it. 

“Physical and mental health have a symbiotic relationship and can’t be treated separately,” Wong, said.

We put an emphasis on addressing everyone’s needs from the perspective of whole-person care to get them the right care. Our PCPs and mental health specialists work together to support people holistically by always looking through a single lens that doesn’t separate physical and mental health. And to help deliver the best health outcomes, these providers, along with our Care Team, are there to support people throughout their entire healthcare journey.

On-demand webinar: Mental health wellness during times of change

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm

[2] https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2021/06/25/620226.htm  

[3] https://usafacts.org/articles/over-one-third-of-americans-live-in-areas-lacking-mental-health-professionals/