The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn has highlighted a growing need for behavioral health support in the workplace. According to a July 2020 poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), 53% of adults in the U.S. reported a negative impact on their well-being due to worry and stress related to COVID-19. Specifically, respondents reported difficulty sleeping or appetite changes, increased alcohol consumption or substance abuse, and worsening chronic conditions. Additionally, more than one in three adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder during the pandemic.
Even before the pandemic, employers were beginning to recognize the importance of supporting employee behavioral health. In 2019, the American Psychiatric Association estimated $44 billion in lost productivity every year due to behavioral health concerns, such as depression and anxiety.
While employee behavioral health has been a growing concern for several years, COVID-19 has created new and unique challenges impacting a greater number of individuals and compounding pre-existing health concerns:
Social isolation. Social isolation, loneliness and even quarantining have been linked to poor behavioral health. Work from home mandates, stay at home restrictions, distance learning, business closures, and personal health concerns have all contributed to the negative effects of social isolation.
Burnout. Burnout continues to impact employee behavioral health, not just for frontline healthcare and other “essential” employees, but for remote workers as well. In a survey conducted by FlexJobs with the nonprofit Mental Health America, 40% of respondents experienced burnout during the pandemic. Thirty-seven percent reported working longer hours than usual since the pandemic started, and 67% percent agreed that workplace stress affects their behavioral health and well-being.
Access to care. COVID-19 has also highlighted gaps in meeting behavioral health needs and disrupted access to care:
Despite the negative effects of the pandemic on employee behavioral health, employers can help minimize the impact by taking an active role in supporting behavioral health in the workplace:
Even as employers begin to return to “the new normal” and bring employees back into the workplace, supporting employee behavioral health and well-being will be an ongoing effort—one that will benefit your employees and your bottom line. Contact your USI Insurance Services benefits consultant to learn more about how our Population Health Management team can support employee health and well-being.
Send a Message
Find a Location