Mental Health Awareness Month: Back to basics

Koa Health
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If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that mental health matters—a lot

You’ve heard it before but it’s worth repeating: we’re in the midst of a rapidly growing mental health crisis. Mental health challenges are more prevalent than ever before, especially in the workplace. In fact, nearly 4 in 5 employees report that the pandemic had a negative impact on their mental health, pushing mental wellbeing to the top of the priority list for most organizations.

After decades of stigma and shame, mental health is finally getting the recognition and acceptance it needs. But it’s important to understand what mental health is, how it affects all other aspects of life and how to support someone who is struggling.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Launched in 1949 by Mental Health America and celebrated each May, Mental Health Awareness Month aims to bring attention to the prevalence and impact of mental illness. It also highlights the importance of helping all people build resilience and improve their mental wellbeing. This year's theme, ‘Back to Basics,’ is a call to enhance our basic understanding of mental health and mental health conditions, helping people understand how and when to access the care they need to stay well.

Get your free copy of the May mental health awareness calendar.

Understanding mental health

Let’s take a closer look at what it means to have good mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

When we consider the WHO’s definition of mental health, it’s clear that our mental state has the potential to impact all areas of our livelihood. By failing to take care of one’s mental health, physical health, social connections, and emotional and psychological wellness are put at risk. This ends up hurting the individual, their families and their employers.

Mental health and the workplace

Mental health struggles were already taking a toll on employees and businesses long before COVID-19 arrived. The cost of lost productivity due to depression alone costs employers an estimated $44 billion each year. But it’s much more than dwindling productivity driving financial concerns.

Recent research from the National Safety Council found that—in addition to the $4,783 in lost productivity per worker—employees who struggle with their mental health spend an average of $3,000 more on health care services each year. Considering that mental health claims rose significantly in 2020, with the overall spend on these claims increasing by nearly 25%, organizations are hard-pressed to support the mental health of their workforce.

Download the State of Mental Health in the Workplace report.

Addressing the mental health burden

It’s vital that organizations provide employees with the benefits and resources they need (and feel comfortable using) to put their mental wellbeing first, before concerns turn to crisis.

Ramping up your organization’s mental health benefits to meet the growing needs of your workforce can seem like a daunting task. Employees are dealing with a wide variety of mental health concerns, yet the majority do not seek help due to stigma, lack of knowledge about available resources and a preference for self-help solutions.

One way to overcome these barriers is to turn to a digital health solution, such as a digital-first mental wellbeing app. But with over 20,000 mental health and wellbeing apps available today and HR teams already overburdened, it can be difficult to find the right fit – one that is going to deliver lasting health outcomes that matter to your employees and will benefit your organization’s bottom line.

The importance of a comprehensive, evidence-based solution

Not all mental wellbeing apps are created equal. It’s important to look for an app that is based in science, supports a range of mental health concerns and is as easy for HR teams to implement as it is for employees to use.

At Koa Health, we’re on a mission to deliver scalable and accessible care for all. We’re proud to say that our solutions are designed by a team of mental health experts and are rooted in science, including our flagship product, Koa Foundations.

Koa Foundations is an evidence-based mental wellbeing app designed to help your team build the skills they need to manage stress and build resilience. Trusted by leading employers and health insurers, we’ve also received top reviews for our app.

ORCHA, a world leader in the evaluation of health apps, has awarded us a score of 100% in the category of clinical assurance and an overall score of 88%. Koa Foundations is also ranked #1 in our categories, "Stress & Anxiety" and "Mental Wellbeing".

Additionally, Koa Foundations received top marks from One Mind Psyberguide, a non-profit project on a mission to lead digital mental health forward. Koa Foundations is ranked #1 under workplace mental health apps

Want to learn more about how Koa Foundations can help your organization support the mental health of your employees? Contact us at, or schedule a call with one of our experts, here.

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Koa Health

The Team @ Koa Health

Our diverse team of developers, researchers, psychologists and behavioral health experts work together to create practical, thought-provoking content to accompany our range of digital therapeutics.