Number of the day: mental health risk

Seven in 10 employees are at risk for mental health conditions. Here’s what that means for HR leaders.
By: | March 31, 2021 • 2 min read

70: Percentage of employees who are identified as being at risk for mental health conditions

Seven in 10 employees are at risk for mental health conditions, according to research from Emvitals, a mental health technology company, in partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine, BHS and Quest Diagnostics. Risk was identified through an online screening of 344 participants. The study also found that 80% of at-risk employees had no history of mental health treatment.

The research was conducted prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 and is not inclusive of data directly related to the employee emotional health implications of the pandemic.

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What it means for HR leaders

The data is the latest to point to a troubling mental health epidemic. Scores of other research have pointed to soaring rates of depression, anxiety, stress and burnout, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This survey in particular points to untreated mental health issues and underscores how much of an issue mental health conditions were even before the start of the pandemic.

“Untreated and under-treated mental health is a massive health issue,” says Jennifer Hunter, Emvitals CEO. “Sixty percent of people in need of mental healthcare simply never seek care, and those that do can wait a decade to do so. Mental healthcare must transform from reactive and fragmented care to proactive and integrated care.”

The study confirms the benefits of employer-sponsored mental and emotional health screening and support, specifically the effectiveness of taking emotional vitals to identify risk based on commonly known causes of mental health conditions, Emvitals says. Identification and early support services can lead to better clinical outcomes, reduced absenteeism and increased productivity.

Related: ‘Now is not the time’ for employers to back off mental health focus

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“One employee suffering with untreated depression costs an employer $12,000 per year and the majority of employees with depression are untreated or receiving inadequate care,” Hunter says.

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Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.

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