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May 3, 2023
Keep up with employee expectations for mental health care

Stress and burnout are widespread across the U.S. workforce, and employees are looking for support.

In fact, Americans' positive self-assessments of their mental health are the lowest they've been in more than two decades of Gallup polling. According to Gallup, only 31% of U.S. adults describe their mental health or emotional well-being as "excellent," with just another 44% rating their mental health as "good." This combined 75% excellent and good rating is the lowest on record and 10 points below the average rating since 2001.



To improve workers’ well-being and productivity – and, ultimately, prevent burnout and turnover – employers must understand the changing employee expectations for support when refreshing and rethinking mental health benefit offerings.

Employers are certainly trying, as many have been ramping up their investment in employee mental health over the last few years. But there’s still need for improvement. One recent study found employee satisfaction with their benefits in 2023 is 22 percentage points lower than employer perceptions of their employee’s satisfaction (61% vs. 83%). This gap in perception is significantly wider than in 2018 (which had only a 3-percentage-point difference).

In today’s busy world, with many workers also embracing flexible or entirely remote work environments, employees want to access care and resources in ways that are convenient and simple for them. And, they want care that's tailored to their needs and delivers lasting improvement. This means that accessible, on-demand virtual mental health care and proactive, personalized health engagement continue to be integral components of a benefits plan that understands employee needs.

When employers leverage a partner like Cigna Healthcare to break down barriers to access and stigmas surrounding mental health, more employees can receive a positive care experience that promotes ongoing holistic health and productivity. With accessible and empowering care experiences at the forefront of their benefit offerings, employers can reap amazing benefits. In fact, employees who feel cared for are 92% more likely to feel engaged at work, 65% more likely to be loyal, and 56% more likely to be productive at work. That's a win-win for your business.

Closing the mental health care gap

To truly support employees, employers must understand and address the gaps that exist between employees’ needs and their awareness of what support resources are available to them.

Cigna Healthcare can be a consultative partner in this process. Leveraging our data and knowledge of your workforce, our health engagement consultants can expertly identify, understand, and support the social determinants of health that affect your population, and where there might be gaps in the support you’re providing. In the United States, 45% of individuals with a clinical-level mental health issue do not seek professional help. Many factors can play into individuals not seeking help – from health inequality, language barriers, and stigma, to difficulty in accessing and using tools. Employees need support when navigating their care challenges.

Cigna Total Behavioral Health, our holistic, integrated approach to mental health care, can help. By connecting employees to the right providers and virtual care tools, we can work with your employees to ensure lasting behavioral change. Our guided navigation provides real-time recommendations and follow-ups with every customer to confirm their needs have been met. In addition, our 24/7/365 crisis and emergency support, free educational awareness seminars, and affordable, convenient digital coaching and virtual care options, will allow your employees to get the care experiences they need, when and how they need them.

Part of the challenge for many employers is that employees might not realize which benefits are available to them. Rather than waiting for the call, our behavioral care navigators are proactive in identification and network guidance tailored to individual needs – such as providing quick access to culturally competent or virtual care – with regular measurement to ensure your population is on the right care pathways to optimal health.

Your employees are dealing with a lot, and they're looking to you for support in these uncertain times. While you may be increasing investments in mental health benefits, it’s important to consider whether there’s still a gap between what your employees expect, or what they understand that is in their plan, and what they’re actually receiving from such investments. You may be able to better support employees – and your bottom line – with Cigna Healthcare’s approach to virtual mental health care and data-driven engagement capabilities that show employees you truly care about their individual care journeys.

We can help motivate your employees to make the most of their professional and personal lives by guiding them to the effective, convenient, and cost-appropriate care they expect. To learn more, contact your representative or broker today.

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