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May 3, 2023
Address the mental health needs of your diverse workforce with personalized care

Nationwide, all employers are grappling with employee stress and burnout. But the causes and how individual employees experience stress and burnout can vary widely across a diverse workforce.

An individual’s demographic, cultural, and socioeconomic background all influence unique health disparities and risk factors, which means employers must take a nuanced and personalized approach to employee mental health.

Understanding and addressing these differences will create a culture where employees feel confident accessing the support they need. Cigna Healthcare can provide the expert consultation necessary to build, scale, and flex that approach.

The many dimensions of employee stress and burnout

According to the American Psychological Association's 2021 Work and Well-Being Survey, 79% of employees experienced work-related stress in the month before the survey. Nearly 3 in 5 employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, energy, and effort at work. Further, 36% reported cognitive weariness, 32% reported emotional exhaustion, and 44% reported physical fatigue – a 38% increase since 2019.

These statistics make it clear that stress and burnout are common in today's workforce. That said, when you dig into the data, key differences take shape. Namely, women, young people, and people in underserved communities are disproportionally struggling with mental health challenges in the workplace.

A 2022 Gallup study found that women reported a 34% rate of burnout, while men were at 26%. Another study found that 31% of workers reported seeking help for stress, burnout, and other mental health issues within the previous year (up from 26% in 2021). However, that number was significantly higher among Gen Z (53%) and millennials (47%).

Mental health disparities in underserved communities are also concerning. For example, Mental Health America notes that Black adults are more likely to experience persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness, than white Americans. Yet, according to KFF, Black (39%), Hispanic (36%), and Asian (25%) adults are significantly less likely than white (52%) adults to receive mental health support. In the Black and Hispanic communities in particular, mental health issues are often compounded by the psychological stress of systemic racism and cultural stigmas around seeking mental health care.

Not only do employees disproportionally encounter mental health concerns across ethnicity and life circumstances, but many of those same employees also feel disproportionally unsupported by their employers. Broadly, 41% of employees say their employer does not offer resources to support them in this critical area. That number is even higher among employees living with a disability (58%), Hispanic employees (56%), and workers with caregiving responsibilities (54%).

Personalizing your approach to employee wellness

Employers need to understand and address the wide variety of risk factors their workforce is facing, as well as the diverse needs of employees, to mitigate stress and, ultimately, burnout. In tandem, employers must seek to create a culture where employees feel comfortable engaging in their own health care and raising their hands when they need support.

As your consultative partner, Cigna Healthcare can work with you to identify the unique needs of your workforce, then personalize solutions across the care continuum to properly accommodate those needs in a way that will be most beneficial to each individual and the health of your business.

This support creates a member-centric solution mix that's closely tailored to every workforce's diverse needs, from behavioral health care to employee assistance plans, mental health networks, health engagement initiatives, and care advocacy and guidance.

Underlying that personalized approach is Cigna Healthcare's commitment to growing the diversity and accessibility of our network providers. Broader representation among providers can better support all patients, and our ongoing verification of demographics sustains this important model. As such, Cigna Healthcare has continued to grow our network in the following areas:

  • 46% increase in non-white providers in the past two years.
  • 21% increase in providers with cultural and race-related counseling specialty in the past year.
  • 18.5% increase in providers with LGBTQ+ clinical specialization in the past year.

As demand for behavioral care increases, the landscape of virtual care remains fluid. Cigna Healthcare’s contracted provider network now includes more than 115K virtual providers, making it the largest virtual network in the country.

In addition, Cigna Healthcare's consultation paired with individualized support, such as virtual care solutions, can bridge access gaps. For example, two-day appointments through select provider partners can fast-track the time-to-see window, encouraging people to get seen where they otherwise might be on waitlists. This is especially helpful in the health care deserts seen among marginalized communities.

Creating a more supportive culture of health

Employers are wrestling with the impacts of a stress and burnout crisis that predates COVID-19 but has worsened in the years since. As leaders address these concerns, they'll need to consider the multidimensional contributors to employee stress and burnout – and how those contributors vary across a diverse workforce.

Understanding and addressing these differences will create a culture where employees feel confident accessing the support they need. And diversifying programs to meet the needs of all employees will create a pathway toward improving mental health for everyone. In particular, women, people from underserved communities, younger generations, and those with disabilities require individualized support, and that's exactly what you get through Cigna Healthcare's consultative approach.

Through customized solutions powered by a broader ethos of personalized care, we help employers like you meet the moment with action, compassion, and person-centric support. Reach out to your Cigna Healthcare representative or broker today to get the expert consultation necessary to build, scale, and flex your employee mental health strategy.

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