NEW YORK, May 12, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With demand for mental health services reaching unprecedented levels amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) and One Mind PsyberGuide today released “Digital Tools and Solutions for Mental Health,” a comprehensive employer guide that provides HR and benefits leaders with the information they need to assess and select digital mental health solutions for their employees.

The global burden of mental health conditions is catastrophic and growing rapidly, and more so amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental health conditions affect over a third of the world’s population with two — depression and anxiety — alone resulting in an estimated $1 trillion in lost economic productivity. For employers, the impact of mental health conditions on their organizations is substantial and ripples beyond the cost of care to include lost productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism.

“Digital technologies have the potential to revolutionize treatment for mental health conditions,” said Dr. Mark Cunningham-Hill, Medical Director at NEBGH.  “These solutions can provide valuable new services that make mental health support more accessible and reduce barriers due to stigma. However, with the number of solutions and tools in the marketplace growing endlessly, selecting the best technology has become increasingly complex. We developed this resource guide to arm employers with the information they need to make the right decision for their organization and employees. With the country now in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, the value of these tools that provide virtual solutions has increased exponentially.”

The guide, “Digital Tools and Solutions for Mental Health,” discusses in great detail the barriers that exist for accessing care for mental health conditions including cost and stigma. The guide lays out a strong business case on why employers should invest in and provide comprehensive mental health benefits to their employees, noting that mental health conditions is a leading cause of lost work days and that the return on investment is between $2 and $4 for every dollar spent on mental health.

One of the main components of the guide is a list of two dozen notable mental health digital solutions and their key features, including what conditions each tool targets (e.g. stress, depression, anxiety) and the types of intervention it offers (e.g. coaching, mindfulness meditation, clinical therapy). The resource includes a fact sheet on each solution as well as a summary of consumer facing mental health apps that employers may want to consider directing their employees toward.  In addition, the guide features case studies of four major employers that have been experimenting with digital mental health solutions to help support employees address issues ranging from stress and sleep to overall wellbeing.

The guide also features a checklist of key considerations for employers when evaluating and selecting a digital mental health solution. These include but are not limited to:

  • Who is the target population for the solution?  Some employers may just include employees while others will want to target family members including adults and children.
  • What are employers looking to achieve?  Raising awareness and providing education on mental health, reducing stress, and enhancing overall wellbeing, happiness and productivity are just a few goals employers may want to achieve with a digital mental health solution.
  • How will employers effectively engage employees?  Employer will need to consider whether the digital solution will complement existing mental health resources and how will they communicate and market the solutions to employees and family members.

“Employers are faced with a multitude of options when considering digital solutions for mental health,” said Stephen Schueller, Executive Director of One Mind PsyberGuide and Assistant Professor of Psychological Science at the University of California, Irvine. “This often leads to pitch fatigue; employers are approached by various companies, and may not know what else is out there and what might be able to meet their needs. Our guide can help empower employers to select from these options and make an informed decision for their workplace."

Funding for the guide was provided by the Bowman Family Foundation, Aetna and Johnson & Johnson.  The guide is free for employers and the public, and can be accessed here.

About Northeast Business Group on Health

NEBGH is an employer-led, multi-stakeholder coalition that empowers members to drive excellence in health and achieve the highest value in healthcare delivery and the consumer experience.  NEBGH’s employer/purchaser members cover 6 million lives in the U.S. and 10 million globally.

About One Mind PsyberGuide

One Mind PsyberGuide is a non-profit whose goal is to help people use technology to live a mentally healthier life. Established in 2013 in response to a growing need for guidelines to help people navigate the mental health app marketplace, One Mind PsyberGuide’s aim is to help people make responsible and informed decisions about digital solutions for mental health by providing unbiased reviews. One Mind PsyberGuide operates at the University of California, Irvine, School of Social Ecology.

Media Contacts:
Candice Sherman
NEBGH
212.252.7440 ext. 234
csherman@nebgh.org

Andrea Helling
Rubenstein (For One Mind PsyberGuide)
ahelling@rubenstein.com
212.843.8025 (Desk)
406.369.0349 (Cell)