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May 3, 2023
Closing the gap: How to meet the evolving mental health needs of your employees

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, increasing health issues challenge employee resilience and productivity. Cigna Healthcare's most recent study on healthy workforces shows a clear link between the health of your employees and the health of your company—and in times of uncertainty, that link matters even more. If we are to emerge from this pandemic stronger, we need to think about the next normal for business health—and that what that means for employee health.  

Cigna Healthcare can help. 

Employee mental health benefits have to evolve with the growing needs of the workforce

During the pandemic, it was clear how stress and burnout greatly impacted first responders and health professionals. It's also no secret that employee burnout and stress led to decreased productivity and high turnover rates across all industries.  

As a result, employers must focus on the following actions to address the increased demands from their employees: 

  • Evolving employee needs for mental health support – employees are demanding more and better access to mental health support. Virtual care was an important access point for care during the pandemic lockdown, and today it has become an expectation for accessing mental health care. 
  • Effectively demonstrating care – employee burnout is a critical issue facing many employers, and employees are looking to their employers for relief. A recent employee benefits trends study found that 82% of employees believe employers have a responsibility to care for their workforce. However, there's a gap in perception between employees and employers when it comes to effectively demonstrating that care: while 87% of employers believe their organization currently demonstrates care, only 65% of employees agree. And just 58% of employees feel cared for most of the time they are working. 
  • Alleviating financial concerns – the cost of health care continues to rise, putting financial stress on employees, and pushing employers to make difficult choices about how they manage their health care expenses. Inclusive of that is mental health care, which comes with its own set of challenges. On average, it takes 11 years after the onset of mental health symptoms for someone to seek treatment. This can be due to a variety of factors, but for many it is because they feel they can’t afford it. According to Mental Health America, 42% of U.S. adults with a diagnosable mental health condition reported in 2023 that they could not afford to access the treatment they needed. 

Closing the gap between employee needs and employer support 

Given the individual and business impacts of stress and burnout, there's certainly a new urgency in managing the gap between employee needs and employer support. 

  • Meeting evolving employee needs with proactive engagement – At Cigna, we understand that relying on employees to seek care and engage in treatment can be a lengthy approach with inconsistent results. That’s why we don’t wait for the call. Our proactive outreach to engage customers is based on predictive analytics. This approach helps to identify, engage, and develop a network outreach solution that is tailored to an employee’s needs – including the need to have quick access to care as well as the assurance of being on the right care pathway to optimal health. This proactive approach, coupled with Cigna’s digital navigation and guided experience provides recommended care options based on customer needs, with a follow up digitally for 100% of customers who call or click to chat.  
  • Effectively demonstrating care through a personalized approach – We at Cigna believe that care is not one-size-fits-all. Our strategically curated providers deliver a personalized health care approach that ensures each of your employees finds the care that works for them. This also means employees can expect providers who understand them and their needs. Our diverse provider base reflects our diverse customer base, with 30 unique languages spoken and 10 unique racial and ethnic backgrounds. This represents a 46% growth of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our provider community and cultural specialties over the past two years.  
  • Helping employees navigate their mental health needs without additional cost – With Cigna’s Confide Behavioral Health Navigator, employees receive access to our free, confidential mental health employee assistance program. Through this concierge support program, employees can connect with behavioral health specialists that provide guidance for finding and scheduling in-network mental health provider support. This mental health EAP service is available 24/7/365 and provides up to 10 free sessions per issue over the course of a calendar year. All providers are in-network, so once an employee makes a connection, they can continue their support without interruption. Employees are also able to access free self-guided digital support and resources if they prefer to navigate their behavioral health needs on their own.  

The last few years have made apparent the gaps between employee needs and care expectations for employers. As the next normal continues to evolve, finding success in this can be difficult. This is where the value of a consultative and innovative partner shines. Cigna Healthcare can provide an expertly crafted approach to navigating these changes through our proactive outreach, personalized behavioral health experience, suite of digital tools, and more. To explore how we can help you build a culture of health and vitality for an ever-changing future, contact your Cigna Healthcare representative or broker today. 

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