102% Upsurge in Risk for Depression Among U.S. Workers Since February

Millennials among those most vulnerable; show a 101% higher risk of depression than middle-aged counterparts


SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2020 — The risk for depression among U.S. workers has risen an alarming 102% since February, according to findings from the Mental Health Index. The escalating threat of developing depressive mood disorder shows little sign of abating. Between June and July, the risk of depression climbed a staggering 31%.

The Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, powered by Total Brain, a leading mental health and brain performance self-monitoring and self-care platform, is distributed in partnership with the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, One Mind at Work, and the newest coalition members, the HR Policy Association and its American Health Policy Institute.


Additional findings from Total Brain’s clinically-validated brain assessments show millennials are among the most emotionally vulnerable groups in the COVID-19 era. Working Americans ages 20-39 have a:

101% higher risk of depression and a 132% greater risk of general anxiety disorder than their middle-aged counterparts (ages 40-59); and a 305% higher risk of depression than their baby boomer colleagues (ages 60+). These findings come on the heels of new CDC data revealing one in four young adults say they have considered suicide in the past month because of the coronavirus.


“It has been more than five months since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic,” noted Louis Gagnon, CEO, Total Brain. “People are experiencing sustained elevation in stress and anxiety levels like never before. The fact that the risk of developing clinical depression continues to escalate at such a disturbing rate comes as little surprise. Depression is the manifestation of months of chronic stress and anxiety overload.”


“COVID-19 is only accelerating an already alarming mental health crisis in the U.S.,” said Chuck Columbus, CEO, American Health Policy Institute. “Findings from the Mental Health Index underscore the need to boldly rethink the delivery of behavioral health services. We are excited to join this collaboration and support such an important and relevant issue.”


Garen Staglin, Chairman of One Mind at Work, commented, “The most recent data shows the increasing urgency for employers to take seriously the mental health of their workforce. The significant increase in risk for depression among millennials is a reminder that those in their late 20s and 30s are experiencing even more adverse mental health effects from the pandemic than other age ranges. Workplaces have unique opportunities to support their employees’ wellbeing and we hope this data is a catalyst for more action.”


“With the resurgence of the virus in July, it is clear that we will not be getting back to normal any time soon,” said Michael Thompson, President, and CEO, National Alliance. “That realization has led to a surge in people with depression particularly in our younger population.”


The full Mental Health Index results can be found here. For more information and additional insights there will be a complimentary 30-minute webinar on Friday, August 21 at 12 p.m. ET. Speakers joining Columbus, Gagnon, Staglin and Thompson are One Mind at Work Director of Strategy and Engagement Katy Riddick, and Founder of Flawless Foundation Janine Francolini. Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3806035773333986571.


Methodology: The Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, powered by Total Brain, contains data drawn from a weekly randomized sample of 500 working Americans taken from a larger universe of Total Brain users. The Index is NOT a survey or a poll. Data is culled from neuroscientific brain assessments using standardized digital tasks and questions from the Total Brain platform. Participants include workers from all walks of life and regions, job levels, occupations, industries, and types of organizations (public vs. private). The brain assessments used to compile the Mental Health Index were taken weekly from February 3 to August 2, 2020.


About Total Brain: Total Brain is based in San Francisco and publicly listed in Sydney, AUS (ASX:TTB). Total Brain is a mental health and brain performance monitoring and support platform that has more than 850,000 registered users. Benefits for employers and payers include productivity improvement and healthcare cost reduction. totalbrain.com


About the National Alliance: The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance) is the only nonprofit, purchaser-led organization with a national and regional structure dedicated to driving health and healthcare value across the country. Its members represent private and public sector, nonprofit, and Taft-Hartley organizations, and more than 45 million Americans spending over $300 billion annually on healthcare. nationalalliancehealth.org


About One Mind: One Mind at Work is a leading mental health non-profit that catalyzes comprehensive action across the scale of the brain health crisis, working from science to patients to society. Moving towards its VISION of HEALTHY BRAINS FOR ALL, One Mind is accelerating treatments and cures for mental disorders and providing hope to patients and their families. Launched in 2017, One Mind at Work is a global coalition of leaders from diverse sectors who have joined together to transform approaches to mental health and addiction. One Mind at Work now includes more than 25 global employers and 18 research and content partners. The coalition covers nearly 6 million people under its charter. onemindatwork.org.


HR Policy Association: HR Policy Association is the lead organization representing Chief Human Resource Officers at major employers. The Association consists of over 390 of the largest corporations doing business in the United States and globally, and these employers are represented in the organization by their most senior human resource executive. Collectively, their companies employ more than 10 million employees in the United States, over nine percent of the private sector workforce, and 20 million employees worldwide. These senior corporate officers participate in the Association because of their commitment to improving the direction of human resource policy. hrpolicy.org.


American Health Policy Institute: American Health Policy Institute is a non-partisan non-profit think tank, started by the HR Policy Foundation that examines the practical implications of health policy changes through the lens of large employers.  The Institute examines the challenges employers face in providing health care to their employees and recommends policy solutions to promote the provision of affordable, high-quality, employer-based health care.  The Institute serves to provide thought leadership grounded in the practical experience of America’s largest employers. Their mission is to develop impactful strategies to ensure that those purchasing health care are able to not only bend the cost curve, but actually break it, by keeping health care cost inflation in line with general inflation. americanhealthpolicy.org.


Media Contact:
Kelly Faville
Rocket Social Impact

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