According to Mental Health Index: Risk of PTSD Up 83%; Risk of General Anxiety Up 94% Among Ages 40-59

Experts warn: employees ages 40-59 feel outsized impact of delta variant fallout

SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON, Aug 19, 2021 — Americans are not coping well according to the Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition. Against the backdrop of the rising delta variant and a race by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to bring back mask mandates, risk of PTSD continues to surge. Incidence of PTSD risk is up 83% when compared to pre-pandemic and has skyrocketed an alarming 61% over the past six months. Further, employees ages 40-59, many of who are management-level workers, are riddled with anxiety, stress and negativity amid political divisiveness and renewed concerns over return-to-work and back-to-school plans. For this group:



  • Risk of general anxiety increased 94% over last month
  • Stress increased 15% over last month
  • Conscious negativity bias increased 10% over last month

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


“It is beginning to feel like we are back where we started,” explained Matthew Resteghini, chief marketing officer, Total Brain. “The good news is that we have learned much since March 2020. We know what is needed to support the mental health of our employees – candid conversations, empathetic leadership, flexibility, transparent and frequent communications and robust mental health offerings that meet the needs of diverse employee populations. Employers have the opportunity to put into action important lessons learned – the success of their employees and their businesses depend on it.”


Michael Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO, commented, “The emergence of the delta variant is now impeding the mental health of our workplaces. The need for organizations to double down on vaccinations will be critical to normalize our workplaces and universally support the wellbeing of our employees.”


“This is a time and place best navigated together,” said Daryl Tol, executive vice president, One Mind at Work. “The reassurance provided when a company stands with its team and acts to support them is hard to overstate. The data we’re seeing is a call to leadership.”


Colleen McHugh, executive vice president of the American Health Policy Institute and strategic advisor for HR Policy Association said, “Unfortunately, what seemed like the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel has now dimmed. The results of this Mental Health Index demonstrate that the mental health crisis related to the pandemic continues, given the heightened concerns around the delta variant and the uncertainty around back-to-school and work. HR Policy Association member companies, all large employers, have band together to share best practices and all remain dedicated to providing creative benefit solutions and increased flexibility to employees, particularly managers, needing extra support to combat anxiety and to cope with the continued stress of the pandemic. ”


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, March 19 at 12 p.m. EST. Register here:


For more information, Encouraging Empathy helps employers understand the science of empathy and how to cultivate it in the workplace. Mental Health in the COVID-19 Era: A Year in Review provides a month-by-month overview of the Mental Health Index data juxtaposed against the state of COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world. Back to Work: How to Prepare for Five Mental Health Challenges Facing Returning Workers offers keen insights for employers in the process of opening long-shuttered doors.


Methodology: The Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition 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 January 18 to March 31, 2021.


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 self-monitoring and self-care platform that has 1M registered users. Benefits for employers and payers include better mental healthcare access, lower costs and higher productivity.


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.


About One Mind: One Mind at Work Launched in 2017, One Mind at Work is a global coalition of leaders from diverse sectors who have joined together with the goal of transforming approaches to mental health and addiction. One Mind at Work now includes more than 90 global employers and 18 research and content partners. The coalition covers more than 8 million people under its charter.


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.


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.


Media Contact:
Kelly Faville
Rocket Social Impact

See how Total Brain Can Help You