Mental health is one of the thorniest issues in health care today. Undiagnosed and untreated mental health conditions are at epidemic-level proportions in this country.
During the COVID pandemic, anxiety and depression rates have increased significantly. According to CDC surveys, rates of anxiety and depression rose to levels of 25 to 30 percent in 2020. Looking at specific demographics, an estimated 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 exhibited anxiety symptoms.
Treatment for mental health conditions and associated symptoms can vary widely from patient to patient based on many factors, such as their age, their geographic location, their symptoms, their diagnosis, and the practitioner’s background, according to researchers at Princeton who looked at data covering 2 million children, of which 200,000 had a claim related to mental illness.
For example, those researchers found that only 70 percent of children received any follow-up treatment in the three months following their first mental claim– children who were hospitalized or treated for events like suicide attempts, self-harm, suicidal ideation, or panic attacks.
And that’s just an average. When that data was broken out by zip code, the rate ranged from 50 percent to over 90 percent. The disparity in mental health treatment and diagnoses leads to disparities in outcomes.
In our position as employee benefits consultants, we think employers have a unique opportunity to positively impact the mental health of employees with programs and strategies to reduce the severity of mental health symptoms and equip employees and their dependents to lead healthier and happier lives.
With that in mind, we wanted to discuss a new offering from Lyra Health, a leading mental health EAP (Employee Assistance Program) available to employers.
Lyra Introduces Guided Self-Care
As a mental health EAP, Lyra provides a range of services and resources to support employees dealing with issues across the mental health spectrum- such as stress, burnout, and relationship challenges. Due to these programs, employees experience greater life satisfaction and outcomes and are happier and more effective employees at work, a win-win.
When it comes to mental health treatment, early mental health intervention can effectively treat issues on the milder end of the spectrum before they develop into more serious conditions. The best-case scenario is for employees to develop self-awareness of their mental health so they can spot challenges they face before they become more severe conditions.
Guided Self-Care is a new mental health care program from Lyra based on research to make care more accessible, convenient, and affordable.
It’s based on a combination of single-session therapy with internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT. The strategy with guided self-care is to bring both treatment approaches together in an accessible and affordable format.
This form of care fits a space for employees who have milder mental health symptoms and need a more immediate solution than therapy or weekly coaching calls. They will pursue mental health care but they must encounter fewer barriers and be offered a more casual experience.
While not everyone wants to go on a silent 10-day meditation retreat, some people may benefit from a 10-minute meditation session at home every day, for example.
Traditional therapy sessions face friction to being effective for the vast majority of the population due to cost and accessibility. This self-guided mode of care is a friendly alternative to the busy parent or professional who may shy away from a weekly session with a therapist.
In the end, Guided Self-Care from Lyra is just one part of a preventative mental health care strategy aimed at the full spectrum of mental health conditions and symptoms.
In order to be effective, preventative mental health must be approached in multiple ways
- Mental Wellness Tools such as Calm or myStrength are highly accessible, however, they are general tools and thus lack personalization to each employees symptoms and situation
- Mental Health Coaching sessions are highly personalized but barriers to access exist, as discussed above
- Guided Self-Care as discussed above marries convenience with the human touch for milder mental health symptoms
If you have any questions, Lyra’s website contains a number of great articles on various mental health topics for employees and employers.