Although there’s been some tapering off, there’s still a significant need and we don’t expect the requests to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Another trend that we’ve seen is that millennials and GenZ are more open to talking about mental health because they’re aware that it’s an important part of being physically healthy.
Not only are they more likely to seek out services, but they influence older generations such as Generation X where we’re seeing increased engagement.
Access is a significant issue, and the demand for mental health services is greater than the current supply of clinicians.
It’s not only difficult to find a provider—and one that is taking new patients and accepts an individual’s insurance—but someone who specializes in specific conditions.
Oftentimes, people will start contacting providers but if they can’t reach them or they’re not taking new patients, they give up.
It’s an overwhelming task that’s made all the more difficult by the symptoms of mental health, such as lack of energy which makes taking the first step difficult.
Dr. Mistry: And in that vein, when an Alight participant connects with your team, what is their experience like?
Williams: They speak with a behavioral health clinician who will ask them about their health history, diagnosis, symptoms, goals, and what they’re looking for.
We utilize the information to help guide them to a specific type of provider and help our research team find the best information for their needs.
We verify that providers are accepting new patients, are in-network, and are in the employee’s specified geographic range. We find out when their soonest available appointment is, and we can also make the appointment for them.
For patients who need inpatient care, we verify bed availability and help them navigate the paperwork. We also provide ongoing support for 30 to 60 days to make sure they’re on the right track.
Dr. Mistry: What are the challenges employers are facing around addressing mental health in the workplace?
Williams: As mental health becomes more of a focus, particularly in light of The Great Resignation, employees are demanding mental health benefits and employers are taking note.
Similar to physical health conditions, the earlier people are treated for mental illness, the better the health outcomes.