For many companies in today’s competitive business environment, maintaining employee satisfaction is paramount. Self-insured employers are thinking beyond the usual employee perks and incentives. With many people experiencing anxiety, depression, and stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now these companies are focusing directly on employee mental well-being. But unfortunately, establishing effective mental health treatment for a large employee population is no simple matter.
Whether a company offers mental health treatment through its health plan or an employee assistance program (EAP), employees sometimes have difficulty finding the right treatment, getting appointments, or accessing in-network help. Employers also struggle to set clear benchmarks, KPIs, and measure the success of their programs.
Fortunately, a number of benefits vendors are seeking to fill the gap by offering solutions for employers to address mental wellness. Here we focus on five innovative benefits programs in the employee mental health space.
Lyra Health partners with self-insured employers to provide mental health benefits to employees. The company’s healthcare model is essentially technology paired with a large provider network, along with various forms of care.
The Lyra membership experience begins with its online platform, which members can access to receive recommendations for providers and treatments, based on the member’s symptoms and lifestyle. After selecting from Lyra’s recommendations, members can book appointments online and access a broad array of mental health services, including the following:
Therapy: The provider network is vetted to ensure they only utilize evidence-based therapies (EBT), which have been rigorously tested in multiple trials and proven to reduce symptoms of mental health conditions. Therapy is offered in-person, via live video, or even onsite at the employer’s offices. Even with one million members nationwide, the company states that 97% of its members have an in-person Lyra provider within 20 miles of where they live.
And Lyra also provides the employer with insights into the platform’s effectiveness. Employers can view metrics of member utilization and satisfaction, along with recovery and improvement rates. A healthcare data analytics platform like Artemis Health can integrate data from a program like Lyra, track the effectiveness, and compare to medical and Rx feeds to track overall performance.
Lyra advertises that its platform and services have yielded the following gains for its customers: (1) 50% decrease in employee turnover, (2) 27% decrease in institutional claims, (3) 20% decrease in health plan therapy and prescription claims, and (4) 70% of employees demonstrating higher productivity. You may have seen Lyra in the news recently; they announced Oprah Winfrey has joined their investors.
This behavioral health solution recently made a splash when Prince Harry of the British royal family came on board as the Chief Impact Officer. BetterUp focuses on helping its members reach their personal and professional goals. They utilize a global network of certified coaches, including licensed therapists and specialists.
One unique aspect of BetterUp is its ability to identify the right employees for coaching. Its proprietary feature, IdentifyAI, assesses the entire employee population and segments employees by career stage, preferred learning methods, and readiness for coaching. Then the algorithm makes specific recommendations for each person in terms of coach type, amount of coaching, specialists, and curated content.
The coaching comes in several different forms:
BetterUp’s services are highly geared toward professional success, which put them more in the “social well-being” category instead of the “emotional well-being” category. Its coaching focuses on defining goals, tracking progress, and regular assessments, with actionable insights for growth and development.
The company bills itself as providing a scalable support system that builds workforce resilience. BetterUp boasts of the following metrics of success: (1) 130% increase in individual job performance, (2) 25% increase in team performance, (3) 149% increase in employee resilience, and (4) 77% of managers reporting a more adaptive team.
An online therapy platform, Talkspace matches users with licensed therapists in their states. In addition to individual subscriptions, the company also partners with employers to provide therapy to employees, through both EAPs and behavioral health benefits.
The company boasts that its platform and services have proven effective at scale. In a 12-week study of 10,000 participants with anxiety and depression, 50% of the participants fully recovered, while 70% experienced significant improvement. Work productivity was also positively impacted, with a 36% increase in productivity, 50% less work hours missed, and a 39% improvement in work-life balance.
Talkspace is probably familiar to many employees, as they do offer services directly to patients/consumers.
Calm is a downloadable app that offers audio content for sleep, mediation, and relaxation. Available directly to patients, Calm also partners with companies to improve employee mental well-being by reducing stress and anxiety, promoting better sleep, and enhancing mindfulness.
Calm offers a variety of tools for employee mental health, such as:
Calm also offers analytics and insights into the overall employee population, such as increases in employee sign-ups and company-wide usage. When integrated with a healthcare data analytics tool, this data would be helpful for employers looking to measure the impact on overall employee health.
Based on survey data from its subscribers, Calm states that 84% of participants saw improvements in mental health, 81% reported less stress, and 73% experienced a higher quality of sleep.
Learn to Live is an online mental therapy platform that partners with employers to provide behavioral health programs, based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
The company points to hundreds of studies showing the effectiveness of CBT in treating anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Learn to Live offers online CBT lessons, live coaching by clinicians, and 24/7 access. And with no need for appointments or wait times, the company boasts of a very high utilization rate for employees.
Quick implementations are another selling point - the company offers support to get employers up and running within 6-8 weeks or less. In addition, the platform provides tools for managing and reporting employee engagement metrics.
Predictably, Learn to Live can point to high engagement rates, including: (1) a 27% employee utilization rate, (2) 48% engagement at 6 months, and (3) 26% engagement at one year. The improvements in employee well-being are also dramatic, with a 50% decrease in measures of anxiety and depression, and 95% of users achieving their personal goals.
With employee mental health being an ongoing concern nationwide, employers are more eager than ever to address this challenge. Effective partnerships with companies like the ones listed here can make all the difference in improving the total mental health of their employee populations. However, while all report impressive employee engagement and outcomes, the true test will be seeing how a program like this affects members of a unique employee population.
Each population is unique, and self-insured employers know that what works for one group might not perform for them. The true test of a mental well-being program will come when you can measure employee engagement, medical outcomes, and benefits costs using a third-party analytics tool.