Latest Mental Health Index: Employee Focus Remains Down as PTSD Risk Up 55%

June 18, 2021

The May Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition shows a significant decline in employee focus driven by a rising risk of PTSD—55% higher than before the pandemic began—suggesting employers should focus on employee well-being as workers return to physical worksites.

Lack of concentration is a top symptom of PTSD.  As worksites reopen with relaxed mask mandates and social distancing requirements, many are struggling with changing the routine they have grown comfortable with over the last 15 months.  To ease anxiety, employers should continue to educate managers on how to identify mental health challenges among employees as well as provide tools that focus on emotional well-being. 

Additional findings from the May Index demonstrate that planning ability is down 22% for workers 20-39 years old and 20% for workers age 60+ since the beginning of the pandemic, and stress among women remains 18% worse than it was earlier in 2021.  Cognitive capacities (such as planning) and levels of stress both have a significant impact on an employee’s productivity.  Additionally, chronic stress and anxiety not only impacts an individual in the present but has been shown to result in cognitive decline over time. 

The Association recently submitted comments with the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions to the Senate Finance Committee ahead of a hearing on the state of mental health care in the U.S.  In our comments, we emphasized the importance of using the Collaborative Care Model to integrate primary care with behavioral health care, as behavioral health conditions often present themselves in primary care settings.  We also provided policy recommendations on expanding access to telebehavioral health care by allowing first-dollar coverage of telehealth in high deductible health plans and allowing employers to offer standalone “excepted benefit” telehealth benefits. 

The full Mental Health Index can be found here.  For additional insights, we are hosting a complimentary webinar today, Friday, June 18 at 12:00 p.m. EDT featuring Charles Lattarulo, Director of Healthy Minds at American Express and Colleen McHugh, Executive Vice President of the American Health Policy Institute and Strategic Advisor to HR Policy Association.  Register here.