85% of employees overlook mental health benefits, survey reveals

More than half are unsure if they have them at all

85% of employees overlook mental health benefits, survey reveals

Majority of employees did not use their mental health benefits offered through their health plans, according to a recent survey by Amwell, a hybrid care platform. The survey, carried out by Regina Corso Consulting, gathered responses from 1,500 employed adults across the United States.  

85% of the respondents admitted to not utilizing the mental health benefits provided by their health plans. The trend highlights factors such as lack of awareness about available benefits, confusion in accessing them, and uncertainty about their inclusion in the benefit package. 

“Health plan leaders and employers need to improve and accelerate education so employees fully understand what benefits are available and how to use them,” the report said. “Simply providing more comprehensive solutions to meet the spectrum of needs is not enough; the mental health benefits should be clearly detailed." 

The survey also shed light on the growing demand for mental health support, with 40% of employees declaring a need for such treatment.  

56% of the respondents revealed that they had never sought therapy. The pandemic appears to have influenced this trend, as in-person therapy visits decreased from 18% before the pandemic to just 9% after it. 

“The business community has taken meaningful steps to be more open about mental health in the workplace and offer better benefits in this area,” said Ken Cahill, chief behavioral health officer at Amwell, in an email to MedCity News.  

“But it’s time to move beyond the rhetoric that it’s ‘okay to not feel okay’ and to stop limiting employee mental health options to in-person care.” 

Respondents expressed a desire for their health plans to offer access to online resources and digital programs for better mental health management. 53% of employees sought virtual tools, while an additional 48% wished for online human support.  

97% of participants had never used digital-based mental health services, but those who did reported a 91% satisfaction rate. 

“In addition, they must consider comprehensive mental health benefits inclusive of online programs, live virtual counseling, and chat-based solutions to meet a broad spectrum of needs. Health plans and employers should consider partners that are comprehensive, scalable, and easily integrated with their existing digital ecosystem.” 

Moreover, the survey highlighted the importance of mental health coverage for children among employees.  

Over four in five respondents prioritized mental health coverage for their children over themselves. Since the pandemic's onset, 69% of the respondents expressed concern about their kids' mental wellbeing. 

“With the rise in youth mental health needs and parental concern for their children’s mental health, the desire for accessible digital mental health solutions through applicable health plans will undoubtedly rise in tandem,” the report said.