According to The Mental Health Index: U.S. Workers Show Signs of Improved Focus; Yet Remain Significantly at Risk for Depression and General Anxiety

Risk of PTSD Declines 22% and is Nearing Pre-COVID Levels


SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2020 — Since March 2020, the Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition has tracked the downward spiral of Americans’ mental health catalyzed by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Until now, data presented only troubling news. According to the latest Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, employees’ risk of depression (up 64%) and general anxiety (up 43%) remain significantly elevated when compared to pre-pandemic. Yet, the risk of general anxiety disorder is stable from August to September and risk of depression saw a low single-digit 6% increase. Stress and anxiety levels are stabilizing. And risk of PTSD declined 22% from August to September and is approaching February levels – a sign of continued adaptation to the current state of our world.

Additional noteworthy Mental Health Index findings:


  • Risk for general anxiety disorder is up 24% since August.
  • Risk for depression is up 36% since August.


  • Risk of general anxiety disorder is down 12% since August.
  • Risk of depression is down 8% since August.

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.

“Mental health is not a static condition,” explained Louis Gagnon, CEO, Total Brain. “As the fallout from the pandemic continues, we see workers continuing to adapt and reframe. We are seeing both negative and positive fluctuations. While we are heartened by improved focus and decision-making skills and a decrease in risk of PTSD month-over-month, we must underscore the need for employers to continue to lead with employee mental health at the forefront of their priorities. The mental health crisis is taking place and far from being over.”


“Helping employees balance between work and home is more important than ever as the lines are blurred with a lot of the workforce working from home and juggling children, remote learning and providing care for loved ones, while others are feeling isolated,” said George Murphy, Senior Vice President, Total Rewards, HR Operations and Systems of Lincoln Financial and Member of the Advisory Board of the American Health Policy Institute.


Garen Staglin, Chairman of One Mind at Work, commented, “As the pandemic continues to cause anxiety and uncertainty, it is essential for employers to find new ways to support the wellbeing of their workforce and take seriously the impact that the current environment has on employees. Demonstrating empathy and prioritizing the mental health needs of employees needs to stay front and center for the duration for the pandemic and long after.”


“American workers are starting to converge in the impact of the environment on their mental health,” said Michael Thompson, National Alliance President and CEO. “The burdens are increasing on older workers as the environment wears on while younger workers, who have been impacted the most, are starting to adjust to a new normal.”


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, October 23 at 12 p.m. ET. Joining Gagnon and Thompson are Katy Riddick, Director, Strategy and Engagement, One Mind at Work and George Murphy, SVP Total Rewards, HR technology and Operations, Lincoln Financial. Register here:


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 February 3 to September 27, 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 self-monitoring and self-care platform that has more than 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 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.


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

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