The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the mental health of Americans and has exacerbated the existing mental health issues of many across the county. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, over 40% of adults in the United States reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in January 2021, compared with 11% in the first six months of 2019.
Even long before the pandemic, there were routine barriers to accessing mental health care in the U.S. — typically, those obstacles are related to cost, accessibility, and stigma.
As more employers prioritize mental health care for their workforce, it’s important to think about how you can help eliminate some of these barriers to care. We spoke to Alexa Banculli, Manager of Healthcare Navigation at Eden Health, who outlined how healthcare navigators can help guide employees through the (often stressful) process of finding and funding mental health care.
FINDING THE RIGHT CARE
When an Eden Health member reaches out to say they’re interested in exploring therapy, our healthcare navigation team will start by collecting some baseline information. This might include what insurance plan this person has, whether or not the individual has been deemed a clinically urgent case by a primary care provider, what kind of sub-specialty is needed (i.e. therapy, psychiatry, testing for specific conditions, group therapy, etc.), and any therapist preferences (such as gender, age, or race) the patient may have.
HANDLING THE LOGISTICS
Anyone who has been to therapy can tell you that the search for the right provider can be time-consuming (and stressful if the need is an urgent one). This is one of the biggest burdens healthcare navigators can remove from a patient’s plate. Once they’ve got a sense of their baseline needs, they’re able to initiate a search for a high-quality provider who is aligned with the patient’s preferences and needs.
Healthcare navigators may then:
- Reach out to providers on the patient’s behalf via phone call or email
- Keep track of which providers don’t respond, then reach back out until the navigators are able to connect with the provider
- Determine which providers are in-network and are accepting new patients
- Narrow down the list of potential providers, including Eden’s in-house mental health specialists
- Advocate for patients who are considered clinically urgent by requesting an earlier appointment slot
- Explore out-of-network provider options that align with a patient’s preferences
- Confirm a patient’s in-network and out-of-network-benefits
- Get cost estimates from providers
- Work with patients to submit claims so they can get reimbursed once they hit their deductible
- Research which providers may offer a sliding scale payment option
IMPACT ON THE WORKPLACE
Employees now, more than ever, expect to work in mentally healthy workplaces. More employees are leaving their jobs for mental health reasons — 68% of millennials and 81% of Gen Zers have left their roles for both voluntary and involuntary mental health reasons. Employers who have supported the mental health of their workforce experienced better business outcomes.
According to the Mind Share Partners’ 2021 Mental Health at Work Report (in partnership with Qualtrics and ServiceNow), respondents who felt supported by their employer:
- Tended to be less likely to experience mental health symptoms
- Were less likely to underperform and miss work
- Were more likely to feel comfortable talking about their mental health at work
- Had higher job satisfaction and intentions to stay at their company
- Had more positive views of their company and its leaders, including trusting their company and being proud to work there
To learn more about how Eden’s healthcare navigation seamlessly helps employees navigate the healthcare system and access the mental health care they need, request a demo today.
This blog is intended to be informational in nature. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your Care Team or other healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials.