By Peter Strimaitis, CEO at Uprise Health
Americans have been struggling to address mental health concerns and find mental health support for years, but 2022 really brought these issues to the forefront. More people sought help, but bluntly, they couldn’t find it. As a result, almost 50% of the 60 million people with mental health conditions are going without any treatment.1 This deficit fueled involvement from the federal level, with the creation of the 988 mental health crisis hotline and a new bipartisan campaign to improve access and increase the availability of mental health care.
Despite these initiatives, there is still a long way to go toward improving access to care, and employers have a big role to play in helping to bridge this gap. The mental health crisis has a significant impact on the workforce, as employees are collectively taking 200 million days off a year due to depression alone.2 Employers must provide their employees with the resources and care they need to ensure their success—both in the workplace and in their everyday lives.
Companies tasked with providing care are facing major operational challenges trying to meet the demand. Like the rest of the industry, Uprise Health has faced these challenges and has worked to respond as quickly as possible because mental health and wellbeing are critically important to a healthy society and a healthy workplace. We’re proud to support our clients in their efforts, including The Ōnin Group, which recently saw a 161% increase in employee engagement in mental health support services by leveraging Uprise Health’s solutions.
Before becoming the CEO at Uprise Health, I spent 30 years leading global operating teams across diagnostic imaging, healthcare IT, life sciences, and consumer goods industries. This has given me a unique and valuable perspective on this topic. By tackling operational challenges, Uprise Health is leading the way toward improving access to digital mental health offerings to companies that prioritize employee health and well-being.
Healthcare professionals are pulling out of healthcare networks because they’re at max capacity. Or they are staying in network but not able to take any new clients for the foreseeable future. Similarly, there are big delays in booking time (again, therapists are maxed out and booked up). There is a need to find new communication methods and processes for both people seeking help and healthcare professionals.
Providing the Best Possible Care
Network health is critical. Cleaning up, keeping up-to-date, and growing the healthcare network has been one of our largest operational priorities this year. We’ve worked on providing new, easier booking options as well as assistance with navigating booking through our care teams, giving people basic support in simply finding and booking appointments. Focusing on virtual care options is another way we’ve worked to expand access and connect people to the care they need as quickly as possible.
Access to Care Challenges
We’re spent significant effort in 2021 and 2022 refining our operations to improve access to care as much as possible for our clients and members. As you work to do the same for your employees, here are some of the biggest obstacles for your organizations to consider and tips on how to address them.
Care Barrier 1: Healthcare professional shortages
Tips to Address: Provide more modality options: teletherapy, virtual coaching, digital platform/self-guided options, and proactive EAP resources.
Care Barrier 2: Administration hurdles
Tips to Address: Offer resources that specifically help people take care of administrative tasks (booking, finding therapists with availability, finding resources).
Care Barrier 3: Cost of care
Tips to Address: Add more proactive options that can prevent high downstream costs of reactive care and provide people with the help they need before it reaches a costly crisis scenario, such as an ER visit.
Care Barrier 4: Underutilization of available benefits
Tips to Address: Provide a modern EAP that offers more self-guided options and provides a communication plan/marketing that engages people to use services more.
We still have a long way to go toward making sure every individual has access to the resources and treatment options they need to support their mental health. However, with new tools and technology options, as well as increased interest from the federal government, there has never been as much conversation around and interest in mental health. The time is now for employers to make every effort to support their employees and create an all-around healthier workforce and healthier society.
To learn more about how your organization can improve access to care, download Uprise Health’s Access to Care Flipbook.