Men’s Risk of Depression Up 69%; PTSD Up 68%; General Anxiety Up 55%

The Mental Health Index Reveals Troubling Trend; Men’s Mental Health Risks Nearing Levels Not Seen Since the Onset of the Pandemic


SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2020 — Until now, the Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition has shown women bearing the emotional brunt of COVID-19. However, brain assessments taken in August through October reveal a troubling new trend. Men’s mental health is declining, and is, in some cases, on par with or worse than that of women. Men’s risk of depression is up 69% (154% greater risk than in February); and risk of general anxiety is up 55% (66% greater risk than in February). Between September and October, risk of PTSD went up 68% (74% greater risk than in February). The data show men’s mental health risks are nearing levels not seen since the onset of the pandemic.

Additional noteworthy data among working men:

  • September to October – Focus declined 76%
  • August to October – Stress levels climbed 20%, Negativity rose 12%

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 Coalitions, One Mind at Work, and the HR Policy Association and its American Health Policy Institute.

According to Louis Gagnon, CEO, Total Brain, “Research suggests distinct gender differences in coping styles. When it comes to dealing with stress, men tend to focus on fixing problems, as opposed to women who try to change their internal response to stressors. A problem-focused approach is often successful, except when the source of the stress cannot be eliminated. We believe that given the robust resurgence of COVID-19, the Mental Health Index illustrates this concept quite eloquently.”

“The impact of the pandemic on mental health is starting to even out across the gender gap,” said Michael Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO. “While men may have been less impacted environmentally over the last eight months, their passive approach to coping may be catching up with them as the pandemic endures.”

Garen Staglin, Chairman of One Mind at Work, commented, “Employers should see this latest data and understand that all of their employees – men and women alike – are suffering from the pandemic. Workplaces should use this uncertain time to start prioritizing employees’ mental wellbeing by providing critical support now while incorporating and maintaining best practices for workplaces that prioritize mental health and neurodiversity.”

Colleen McHugh, executive vice president of the American Health Policy Institute and strategic advisor for HR Policy Association said, “As we head into the holiday season, typically a more challenging time for many Americans, American Health Policy Institute member companies remain concerned about the mental health of their employees. These large employers are continuing to innovate new ways to support their employees and are also focusing on increased outreach and communications during this tough time. The new data released by the Mental Health Index show that such support is needed now more than ever.”

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, November 20 at 12 p.m. ET. Joining Gagnon, Thompson and McHugh are Katy Schneider Riddick, Director of Strategy and Engagement, One Mind at Work and James Garvie, SVP HR, Total Rewards & Technology, Southern Company. 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 November 3, 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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