The United States is in a mental health crisis, costing the economy tens of billions of dollars in lost productivity.
A recent online Gallup survey of 15,809 respondents found that 19% of U.S. workers rate their mental health as “fair” or “poor,” and that cohort Four times more likely to take unplanned absences. Based on these results, Gallup estimates that these workers are taking about 12 days of unscheduled absence per year, costing the U.S. economy $47.6 billion in lost productivity per year. doing.
Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup National Health and Wellbeing Index, told Yahoo Finance: more than I thought.
The survey found that 33% of U.S. workers felt their job had a “somewhat negative” impact on their mental health, and 7% indicated a “very negative” impact. understood. We also asked individuals to rate their overall mental health: 13% said it was very good, 34% said it was very good, and 34% said it was good.
In total, these people missed an average of 2.5 workdays per year due to mental health. On the other hand, 16% rated their mental health as fair and 3% as poor, with an average of 11.8 absent days per year. These absences can be attributed to many factors, including physical and mental burnout, attending therapy during normal working hours, or simply having a “mental health day” to recharge. There is a possibility
“There is a shortage of therapists and psychiatrists.”
Mental health care in the United States has been riddled with systemic problems for decades.
One of the main reasons is that mental health care and physical health care research and training are treated separately. This has led to limited or no insurance coverage, lack of available treatment types, and lack of expertise in behavioral health, including both mental illness and substance use disorders.
“Many psychiatrists and therapists do not accept insurance, so if you want to receive insurance, you have to pay for it,” Darcy Gruttadaro, chief innovation officer at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) told Yahoo. told Finance. “And it’s so expensive that many people can’t afford it. That’s why health insurance networks don’t have enough therapists and psychiatrists.”
Even when someone finds a provider in the network, they often either don’t accept new patients or have long waits for actual appointments.
“These are everyday situations people go through when trying to get care,” said Gruttadaro. “They can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket, have long wait times, and can’t find anyone accepting new patients, whether they’re in the network or not.”
Within the workplace, many employees find it difficult to access mental health support services. In fact, a Gallup survey found that 33% of his employees don’t actually know if their employer offers easily accessible mental health support services, while 24% don’t. I answer.
And according to Wendi Safstrom, president of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation, the U.S. health care system is terribly ill-prepared for the increased demand for mental health care.
“So if you’re employed and have access to all kinds of employee assistance programs and maybe even a therapist, more and more people are comfortable talking about mental health and wellness and asking for what they want. “I think the whole healthcare system is going to be inundated because it’s increasing. To be better, to be better, to feel better, to think better,” she told Yahoo Finance. will be overwhelmed.”
Research shows that more employees in certain industries report mental health issues than others. For example, 75% of employees in the construction industry and 71% of employees in the arts/design/entertainment/sports media category either do not have or are not aware of easily accessible mental health support services at work. Meanwhile, among those who reported that their job had a “very bad” impact on their mental health, government and public policy officials ranked highest at 13% for him, followed by transportation (goods). was 10% of
“I heard a quote [recently]: too much noise and not enough music,” said Safström. “If you look for mental health and wellness apps online, there are 400,000 apps that are pushing the wellness direction even further, from yoga to meditation. I think they’re trying to find things that are proven in terms of impacting employee mental health. and invest in coverage within the organization.”
At the same time, employers struggle to understand whether these investments are working and why or why people are accessing them, she continued.
“So I think we’re at this stage of evolution. Some organizations were ahead of the game, they had the strategy and the resources, but they had a bigger infrastructure when it came to HR. Even the most sophisticated organizations are taking a step back and saying: What’s working elsewhere?” Safström said. “And that’s exactly where we are right now.”
Impact of COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated America’s mental health crisis.
A Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) study published in February 2021 found that nearly 12% of adults surveyed had serious thoughts of suicide in the previous month, while 29.6% had COVID-19-related trauma. and stressor-related disorder symptoms, 33% had symptoms of anxiety or depression, and more than 15% reported increased substance use.
Remote work has been both a blessing and a curse for many employees during the pandemic. This gave employees flexibility, but limited face-to-face interactions.
But at the height of the pandemic, there was a shortage of mental health providers.
“The U.S. mental health system is very difficult to navigate, whether through employer-sponsored benefits or otherwise,” Gruttadaro said. increase. “First of all, there is a shortage of psychiatrists and therapists, so even pre-pandemic when the number of people experiencing mental health problems is increasing, there is not enough to meet the needs. .”
The State of Mental Health in America 2022 report notes that an estimated 350 people need care for each mental health provider in the United States, but “these numbers are actually higher than those of active mental health professionals.” is likely to be an overestimate, as this may include providers who are no longer practicing or accepting new patients.”
“There aren’t enough psychiatrists and therapists, and probably not in the near future,” said Gruttadaro. “In order to provide an effective integrated care model, primary care must be supported reliably. There is only one well-studied model and that is the collaborative care model, but others are Therefore, there is a need to support primary care with regular screening for common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and substance use.”
According to a 2022 study by AHIP, the number of insured mental health providers has increased by an average of 48% over the past three years. Additionally, the study found that 78% of health plans “had increased payments to providers to recruit more qualified professionals into their network of insurers.”
“If anything good comes from the pandemic, it’s this realization that mental health and wellness affects nearly everyone, if not the individual. Anxiety, depression, homeschooling.” “Among the stress caused by everything from children who have to do things to people diagnosed with mental illness who are undergoing treatment but are afraid to talk about it,” Safstrom said. It affects so many people that people feel more comfortable bringing it up. Talking about mental health at work feels normal.”
Adriana Belmonte is a political and health policy reporter and editor at Yahoo Finance. You can follow her on her Twitter @Adrianan Belles Please contact email@example.com.
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