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Where to start: Mental health in a changing world

Koa Health
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Following decades of stigma and shame, mental health has become a cultural focal point—its impact on the individual and the collective is widely discussed. But awareness alone isn’t enough to get people the necessary support. Many organizations are ready to progress from awareness to action but still searching for the answer to a crucial question: Where to start?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month was launched in 1949 by Mental Health America to bring attention to the prevalence, impact, and need to support mental health.  Where to start: Mental health in a changing world is the theme for 2024, highlighting the ongoing and sometimes overwhelming change we face in today's fast-paced world.

Finding a path forward can feel impossible when things are constantly in flux. But with change comes progress, and digital tools are making mental health support more accessible and effective than ever before. The real challenge now is figuring out where to start.

We all have mental health

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as "mental wellbeing that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community."  At Koa Health, our years of research have shown us again and again that mental health isn’t either or—it’s a continuum that encompasses everything from positive mental health through severe mental illness and varies over the course of a lifetime. Every aspect of life, including physical, social, and emotional wellbeing, is affected by mental health and vice versa. When we accept that we all have mental health and that it's constantly changing in response to life's circumstances, we can overcome stigma and begin to get comfortable with seeking support.

Poor mental health doesn't exist in a vacuum. Mental health struggles don’t just hurt the individual—they also impact families, friends, coworkers, and employers. With 64%  of working adults struggling with their mental health and 91%  reporting that their mental state hurts their productivity, your organization is likely feeling the impact of poor mental health far beyond your bottom line.

The good news is that employers and health plans are uniquely positioned to address the mental health crisis—you just need to figure out where to start.

Why your mental health investments aren’t delivering

Mental health benefits have become commonplace as organizations increasingly feel and respond to the effects of poor mental health—98%  of large employers offer at least one. But if benefits are widely available, why do so many continue to struggle, driving up costs without measurable improvements?

The reality is, in too many cases, the benefits offered are missing the mark. Engagement and utilization are too low, often because of difficulty accessing services or poor fit. 68%  of employees say they don't use existing benefits to their full value because they're too difficult to access, time-consuming, or confusing. Up to 75%  of the workforce don't want or need 1:1 therapy, which is usually the main or only benefit available to them.

Shifting your approach to mental health benefits

Your people are dealing with a wide variety of mental health concerns. Meeting their needs requires a broader, more inclusive approach. For care to deliver results, it must be easier to access and navigate, and empower people to take earlier ownership of their wellbeing. Too often, the only support available is 1:1 therapy…and only when an individual reaches the point of crisis.

While teletherapy is great for those who need it, the majority of your workforce would prefer self-help on their terms. Enabling employees to access science-based preventive care in a way that works for them is a vital part of reducing the mental health burden on individuals, employers, and mental health professionals.

Knowing where to start

At Koa Health, we understand it can be hard for individuals to find the right level of care to meet their needs. That's why we spent the past seven years meticulously researching and validating our comprehensive care model, enabling organizations and their people to transform their approach to mental health.

We're proud to say that our solutions are designed and maintained by a team of mental health experts and are backed by clinical excellence. Our integrated, intelligent care navigation provides clinician-developed support to ensure your investment in mental health truly delivers—from prevention to treatment.

Want to learn more about how Koa Health can help your organization support the mental health of your employees? Book a consultation with one of our experts here.

  1. https://www.mhanational.org/mental-health-month

  2. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

  3. https://www.cfo.com/news/only-19-of-employees-used-mental-health-benefits-in-2022-weekly-stat/654615/

  4. https://www.cfo.com/news/only-19-of-employees-used-mental-health-benefits-in-2022-weekly-stat/654615/

  5. https://info.koahealth.com/extended-analysis-2024-workplace-mental-wellbeing-trends

  6. https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/insights/topics/talent/employee-wellbeing.html

  7. https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/pharmaceuticals%20and%20medical%20products/our%20insights/using%20digital%20tech%20to%20support%20employees%20mental%20health%20and%20resilience/using-digital-tech-to-support-employees-mental-health-and-resilience-f.pdf

about the author

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.