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With the COVID-19 pandemic in its second year, now is a good time to examine the mental health challenges posed in 2020. See how they’ve impacted Americans’ physical health, and how employers are reacting to and creating positive solutions for the benefit of their employees.

Whether it’s the increased isolation of remote office environments, anxiety for workers exposed to potential illness on the front lines or stress about childcare and school closures for working families, it’s no secret that mental health issues can contribute to or exacerbate physical health issues.

Here’s a look at some of the mental and physical health challenges facing individuals in the U.S.:

  • 47% of American adults reported difficulties managing stress.
  • 23% reported drinking more to cope with stress over the past year.
  • 42% reported recent symptoms of anxiety or depression.
  • 12% reported an unmet mental health care need.
  • 47% have delayed or canceled health care services.

While these statistics are discouraging, many employers are stepping up to help reverse the negative mental and physical health trends occurring throughout the U.S. and employees appear open to the solutions:

  • 9 in ten employers say they will offer access to online mental health resources including apps, videos, and webinars in 2021.
  • Nearly two-thirds of employers say they will be providing manager training in the coming year to help recognize mental health issues and direct employees to appropriate services.
  • Half of large employers in 2021 will conduct campaigns to reduce the stigma that exists related to mental health conditions and treatment.
  • Nearly half of U.S. workers say they would have greater confidence in a new digital health solution if it was provided by their employer.
  • More than a quarter of U.S. workers said that the provision of digital health tools would have a positive impact on their decision to stay with their employer.

While many hurdles remain to connect people to mental health care (counselor shortages, stigma, cost), employers are uniquely positioned to break down barriers to connect their employees with the care they need.

To learn more about rising mental health needs in the U.S. and how employers can help, read First Stop Health’s Guide to Mental Health Solutions for Employees. For more information on how to evaluate digital healthcare solutions for your workforce, feel free to request a copy of First Stop Health’s Telemedicine Guide.

First Stop Health, our telemedicine service available to Alliance health plan participants, provides 24/7 virtual treatment and care from U.S.-based and licensed physicians for various health concerns. From the flu to a bug bite, First Stop Health is just a click away, saves participants health-care dollars, and provides top-notch service. They believe access to health care should be convenient, affordable, and transparent.