PTSD, Depression and Addiction Soar Amid Skyrocketing Cases of Omicron

According to the Mental Health Index: 1 in 4 U.S. workers show signs of PTSD; depression up 87% and risk of addiction among men up 80% since September

SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTONJan. 20, 2022 — As Americans brace themselves for year three of pandemic life, their mental health hits an all-time low, according to the Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition. Most notably, PTSD, depression and addiction soar amid skyrocketing cases of Omicron. An alarming 1 in 4 American workers screened positive for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – up 54% in the past three months and up 136% when compared to pre-pandemic. Depression is surging – up 87% since fall (63% higher than before COVID19).



Men show a sharp rise in risk of addiction – up 80% between September and December 2021.  In just the past three months, depression among men is up 118%, and social anxiety is up 162%.  When looking specifically at men ages 40-59, general anxiety is up 94%.


“We expect mental health declines around the holidays; however, nothing of this sheer magnitude,” said Mathew Mund, CEO, Total Brain. “We see a very troublesome surge in mental health concerns at a time when Omicron begins to grip the nation; workplace vaccine mandates are put in place; and the holiday season is in full swing. Employers must be prepared to address trauma in the workplace. Understanding the risks and pressures that may exist for employees and normalizing workplace mental health discussions are important first steps.”


The Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, powered by Total Brain, a mental health monitoring and support 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.


Michael Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO, commented, “The omicron surge has had a parallel effect on the mental health of our workforce. While we had hoped the worst was behind us, employers will want to double down on efforts to create a supportive environment as the issues created by the pandemic continue.”


Margaret Faso, director, Health Care Research and Policy of HR Policy Association, said, “It is distressing that the rapid spread of the Omicron variant has compounded the typical holiday behavioral health declines. Large employers continue to work tirelessly to provide employees with increased workplace flexibility and benefits, including access to health care services. The uncertainty around federal COVID policies adds to the stress felt at the workplace; however, employers have continued to focus on the safety and well-being of employees, regardless of mandates or federal policy. It is our hope that as the Omicron variant dissipates, the stress, depression and anxiety of America’s workers also declines, and the associated behavioral health of all Americans improves.”


“This sustained impact on the mental health of today’s workforce will require an equally sustained impact and effort on the part of employers,” said Daryl Tol, executive vice president of One Mind at Work. “Often, we look for simple or short-term solutions to complex problems, however it’s evident that it is going to take dedicated, ongoing work to advance mental health programs for employees on an impactful scale.”


The full Mental Health Index results can be found here. For additional insights, there will be a complimentary 30-minute webinar on Friday, January 21 at noon Eastern. Register here:


The Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition is released quarterly. In April 2022, the Mental Health Index will look back at Q1 employee mental health data, trends and influential factors.


To learn more, watch Total Brain Chief Medical Officer Dr. Evian Gordon as he discusses how the Total Brain platform addresses PTSD. For more information about addiction, download Addiction in the Workplace. For more information about PTSD in the workplace download Trauma and Mental Health in the Workplace. This white paper is the latest work in the One Mind at Work CHRO Insight Series created in partnership with the SHRM Foundation.


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

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