Insights from MediKeeper Health Risk Assessment Shows 104% Increase in Employees Seeking Professional Help for Stress, Anxiety or Depression in 2021
Data from 67,000 Employees Indicates Mental Health Support Will Be a Priority for Return to Office Plans
SAN DIEGO, April 21, 2021 – With Mental Health Month fast approaching in May, MediKeeper has released part one of its 2021 Workplace Wellness Benchmark Report, a comprehensive analysis of the state of wellness and wellbeing indicators among today’s workforce, focusing on mental health indicators, including stress, anxiety and depression. These data represent anonymized insights from more than 67,000 employees who opted to complete MediKeeper’s National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) certified Health Risk Assessment (HRA) optional mental health section offered by their employer. MediKeeper provides workplace wellness technology used by more than 11 million people at work that helps them make smarter health-related decisions.
While the SARS-CoV-2 virus and associated COVID-19 disease ran rampant across the world in 2020, so did stress levels. According to these data, more than 96% of employees reported experiencing stress in 2020. In addition, 6.8% of the population sought professional help for anxiety or depression in 2020. However, in the first months of 2021, of 10,540 employees who completed an HRA between January 1 to March 11, 13.9% say they have sought professional help for anxiety or depression, an increase of 104%. This increase proves that stress levels are escalating this year as people start preparing to head back to the office, or that more employees have finally decided to take the step to get help after enduring the pandemic for a full year.
Human Resources (HR) Must Adjust for Stressed Employees
“These data are a strong message for company leaders and HR professionals to reevaluate their wellness and benefits mix this year as they plan their return to office strategy,” explained Dr. Tyler Amell, Chief Health Officer at MediKeeper. “With more employees struggling with stress, anxiety and depression, it’s important to offer mental health services and support, such as access to therapists via remote appointments and personalized digital content for managing stress, and dealing with other common struggles people face.”
Dr. Amell suggests that HR administrators address the increased levels by tying in best practices for managing stress through programs such as:
- Use the power of social circles
Utilize a wellness program’s social media platform to facilitate a dialogue about prevailing anxieties and let employees help each other. It’s especially important for the company to share its back to the office strategy and its commitment to the health and safety of the returning workforce in a transparent and inclusive manner.
Leverage employee Health Risk Assessment data to gauge anxiety levels
HR administrators should consider requiring members to update their Health Risk Assessment – in a wellness portal or as a standalone product – to gauge the level of anxiety employees may be feeling. Administrators can use the HRA results to make evidence-informed decisions about their wellness/wellbeing programming.
- Look to new digital tools and platforms
HR should consider digital content in the form of behavior change solutions and short expert-led videos that will be more popular than lengthy written articles or blog posts. Digital solutions, for example Digital Coaching from SelfHelpWorks and educational video content from LifeSpeak, are very popular from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and informational video perspective.
“Avidon Health, provider of the SelfHelpWorks behavior change programming solution for employers, has seen an increase in utilization of the tool of 26%” noted Kurt Atherton, President Avidon Health. “This increase in use is indicative of a desire of people to seek help as well as meaningful, sustainable change in their health as a result of the pandemic.”
Breaking Down Employee Stress in 2020
When asked to rank their stress from 1 to 5, with one being the lowest and 5 the highest, these data shows that 60% have low stress (level 1-2), more than a quarter (26%) have medium stress (level 3) and nearly 11% have high stress (level 4-5).
2020 employee stress levels:
- Stress level 1: 97%
- Stress level 2: 67%
- Stress level 3: 99%
- Stress level 4: 29%
- Stress level 5: 27%
In looking at early 2021 employee stress levels, these data show an escalation in the higher levels of reported stress from the prior year:
- Stress level 3 (27.52%) increased 5.9%
- Stress level 4 (9.31%) increased 12.0%
- Stress level 5 (2.46%) increased 8.4%
These data from MediKeeper’s best-in-class HRA are in agreement with published academic research studies, supporting the broader notion that stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms are increasingly common, and will continue for the near future. Further, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and antidepressant drug use has been increasing considerably during the past year, which will further impact employer-sponsored health benefit plans.
To learn more about wellness trends and programming post-COVID-19, download our Four Emerging Employee Wellness Trends for 2021 white paper.
About the MediKeeper Workplace Wellness Benchmark Report
The inaugural MediKeeper Workplace Wellness Benchmark Report is based on anonymized insights from a subset of employees who opted to complete a National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) certified Health Risk Assessment (HRA) offered by their employer. MediKeeper drew on responses from 67,118 employees who completed the HRA. The HRA covers a range of topics beyond Mental Health and Stress, and MediKeeper will be releasing other reports focusing on Employment/Jobs, Personal Health/Wellness and Personal Relationships/Connections.
MediKeeper offers a comprehensive suite of health management tools designed for employer groups, health plans, brokers, TPA’s, and wellness companies. The company’s Wellness Portal and Health Risk Assessment tools enable healthcare consumers to make smarter health-related decisions. Founded in 2003, MediKeeper technology gathers and analyzes disparate health data. By providing de-identified population reporting in a seamlessly integrated portal, MediKeeper’s customers are better able to manage their population’s health and make smarter wellness investments. Visit us at https://medikeeper.com/. Follow our blog at https://medikeeper.com/resources/blog/ and on Twitter @medikeeper.
Jill Reed or Peter Brooks, Sift Communications for MediKeeper, MediKeeper@siftpr.com