Women’s Risk of Addiction Up 65% According to Mental Health Index

Gen X Employees’ Risk of General Anxiety Disorder Up 103%; Men Show Signs of Post-Election Mental Health Relief


SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2020 According to the Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, women’s risk of drug and alcohol addiction is up 65% since September. This alarming news is set against a backdrop of insufficient sleep. Female employees’ risk of sleep apnea has climbed 126% over the past 10 months.

Mental Health Index data tells a better story for men. Male employees are showing some signs of post-election mental health relief despite reaching peak risk levels one month ago. When comparing October to November: men’s focus is up 34%, decision-making skills are up 14% and risk of general anxiety is down 19%. The good news of improvements in men’s mental health is tempered by the U.S. workforce’s overall decline in mental health since February. Everyone’s stress levels and risk of general anxiety, depression and PTSD remain alarmingly higher than before the global pandemic, especially among Gen X workers.

Notable findings when comparing February (pre-pandemic) to November data:

  • Stress level up 16%
  • Ages 40-59: Stress level up 23%
  • General Anxiety – Ages 40-59: Risk up 103%
  • Depression – Risk up 66%
  • PTSD – Risk up 47%

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.

“This month’s Mental Health Index findings reinforce the complex and bidirectional relationship between physical and mental health,” explained Louis Gagnon, CEO, Total Brain. “Poor physical health can increase the risk of developing mental health issues. Poor mental health can negatively impact physical health, leading to increased risk of disease and addictive behaviors. Employers who design employee wellbeing programs with the understanding that physical health and mental health are inextricably interconnected will be rewarded with better performing, more productive and loyal employees and lower healthcare costs.”

“It’s clear that the pandemic is not only taking its toll on mental health but is also having an indirect impact on the overall health of our employees and their families,” said Michael Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO. “Employers need to look at these issues in a way that treats the total person holistically and addresses their physical and emotional health and wellbeing.”

Garen Staglin, chairman of One Mind at Work, commented, “Employers need to see this data and understand that they must act now to help support employees who may be struggling with addiction issues as a result of the pandemic. Addiction can lead to chronic health problems, which impacts the employee and the employer. Investment in overall wellbeing is not only the right thing to do, but very cost effective in the long run.”

Executive vice president of the American Health Policy Institute and strategic advisor for HR Policy Association Colleen McHugh said, “This new data showing an increased likelihood of addiction and further decline in mental health is of great concern to American Health Policy Institute member companies. Large employers are focusing on providing support to their employees during this difficult time, which is intensified by the holiday season.”

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, December 18 at 12 p.m. ET. Joining Thompson and McHugh are Matthew Resteghini, chief marketing officer, Total Brain and Katy Schneider Riddick, director, Strategy and Engagement, One Mind at Work. Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3806035773333986571.

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. 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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