- Mental health trends show an increased need for mental and behavioral health services.
- Many are turning to digital health tools to treat rising mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
- The increase in mental health issues means employers need to offer health insurance plans that provide access to telehealth tools and behavioral health specialists.
- Group captive insurance allows employers to implement vital behavioral health solutions while meeting financial benchmarks.
May is Mental Health Awareness month, a good time to reflect on the impact of stress and isolation of the past two years and what we as employers can do about it.
Mental health trends for 2022 show an increase in mental health issues and the rise of digital behavioral health services for treatment. These trends indicate the need for employers to ensure that health insurance plans are designed with more than a cookie-cutter approach to mental health, and instead take a holistic view of the patient where physical and mental health are connected and optimized.
We’ve put together some important behavioral and mental health trends and discuss ways you can address the needs of employees while managing the associated financial challenges. We also explore how being self-funded in a group medical captive such as Roundstone can help with innovative solutions for self-care and holistic wellness.
Top Mental Health Trends of 2022
Mental health trends continue to reflect the mental stress and economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to across-the-board lifestyle changes, mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and related behavioral health issues like substance abuse are all on the rise.
This has led to a decline in physical well-being and a shift in treatment options, such as turning to mental health professionals and digital tools for help.
Anxiety and Depression Are On the Rise
In 2020, Mental Health America reported that nearly 500,000 people struggled with a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression. The organization offered online screenings from January through September, stating that anxiety screens increased by 634% while depression screens increased a staggering 873%.
An April 2022 Statista survey found that in the previous week, 27% of adults experienced symptoms of an anxiety disorder, and 22% reported symptoms of depression.
Increasing Substance Abuse
In the wake of the pandemic, substance abuse has increased. The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics reports that 14.8 million Americans struggle with alcohol use disorder and 1.6 million people have opioid use disorder. 96.6% of people with opioid use disorder misuse pain medications prescribed by their doctor.
A Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) report states that substance and alcohol use increased 12% during the pandemic.
Overall Decline in Physical Well-being
Due to a combination of mental stress and lack of access to adequate care, many people are struggling with an overall decline in their physical well-being.
The KFF report also states that 12% of people reported worsening chronic conditions during the pandemic, and 36% experienced difficulty sleeping. 32% of people reported problems with eating. These issues add to the decline of physical well-being and worsen mental health overall.
Health Disparities Are Becoming More Prominent
The pandemic brought to light an increasing prominence of health disparities among black and Hispanic populations. KFF reports that black and Hispanic people experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety at higher levels than white adults.
These communities also lack adequate access to behavioral and mental health services. This deficiency was highlighted during the pandemic and continues in 2022.
People Are Turning to Digital Behavioral Health Tools
During the pandemic and well into 2021 and 2022, people began turning to digital behavioral health tools to seek help for their mental and physical health. These include telehealth services for primary care physicians and online mental health and substance use disorder counseling.
People are also turning to digital mobile applications to help them manage anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other behavioral and mental health issues.
The Future Effects of Behavioral Health Trends on Employers
These behavioral health trends will significantly impact employers and their employee health insurance plans. Employers must take a proactive stance to eliminate stigma, ensure employees’ wellbeing as much as possible, and make sure they know they have options to mitigate negative outcomes.
To meet the needs highlighted by current behavioral health trends, employers need to focus on providing access to mental health counseling services and telehealth services. They should also prioritize promoting employee well-being programs, including meditation, yoga, nutrition support, and other forms of self-care.
Access to Mental Health Services
Employers building health plans for the future need to offer adequate coverage for mental health services. The increase in anxiety, depression, and substance abuse means that employees need professional counseling and treatment to overcome these obstacles.
Offering easily-accessible maintenance and preventative mental health care, like telehealth and counseling services, can also help prevent larger emergency costs down the line.
Employers can opt for plans that cover counseling sessions and treatment center stays. They can provide educational material on how to approach mental health issues and where to seek treatment. They can also ensure that plans cover therapeutic treatments like trauma-informed care and virtual reality treatments.
Blood Testing Services
Promising new research indicates that blood testing may identify biomarkers for stress and mood disorders.
Although the studies are in the early stages, employers may want to consider health insurance plans that cover this type of testing for employees. Allowing blood testing could help employees discover mental health conditions earlier and get treatment before it negatively impacts their work performance and personal health.
2021 saw a 32-fold increase in telehealth visits. Whether for primary care physicians or mental health professionals, telehealth services have become an essential part of any employee health insurance plan. They provide access to treatment without the need to make an appointment, take time off work, drive to a facility, and sit in a waiting room to receive care.
Employers must ensure that employee health insurance covers telehealth visits for physical and mental health services at a reasonable cost.
Promotion of Employee Well-Being Plans
Employee well-being plans can have a beneficial impact on behavioral health markers. Wellness plans provide educational materials and incentivize employees to engage in healthy behaviors like weight management, physical activity, and regular primary care visits.
In the future, employer-sponsored well-being plans will be an essential component of addressing employee behavioral health concerns.
Group Captive Insurance: Flexibility and Choice for Employers
Group captive insurance is an affordable small business health insurance option for employers with 25 or more employees. Unlike traditional insurance plans, a self-funded group captive plan allows you the freedom to build your own plan, use data and insights to contain costs, and save money on unused premiums.
A group captive plan positions your company to adequately meet your employees’ changing behavioral and mental health needs. It also ensures you meet the financial challenges presented by the shifting healthcare landscape.
Custom Plan Design
With Roundstone, you build your plan from the bottom up. You can customize your coverage based on your specific employee needs and underwriting data.
Claims Data Insights
Roundstone offers transparent access to your claims data through our CSI Dashboard. This tool gives you insights into how your money is spent so you can change your plan to control costs and provide the proper coverage for optimum utilization by employees.
Freedom to Choose Vendors
With a group captive plan, you can choose which solution providers to work with. Freedom of choice allows you to implement employee well-being programs or other programs that help your workers deal with mental health issues.
Roundstone offers year-over-year savings on your unused premiums. We give back 100% of what you don’t use. Those savings are yours to keep and use however you choose.
Stay on Top of Behavioral and Mental Health Trends with Group Captive Health Insurance
Group captive insurance from Roundstone can help your small to midsize business meet the growing demand for behavioral and mental health services.
Download our free eBook, Behavioral and Mental Health Cost-Containment Strategies, to discover ways that a self-funded group captive plan with Roundstone can help you meet your employee behavioral and mental health needs while continuing to provide high-quality care at lower cost.