Is the Sky Falling on Mental Ill-Health? Maybe not.

in Featured, Uncategorized

 

hand reaching up to the sky

 

Gallup recently published new data showing an increase in American’s self-reported mental ill-health. As Gallup put it:

Americans’ positive self-assessments of their mental health are the lowest in more than two decades of Gallup polling.

The polling and consulting company included this graph:

graph showing an increase in mental ill-health

The social media universe reacted with its usual outrage, pointing fingers toward the health care system, lack of primary prevention, big pharma, bad employers, lousy insurance, social determinants, and the other usual suspects. Most of these conditions, of course, almost certainly contribute to emotional wellbeing challenges.

Gallup, however, was more cautious in its conclusions:

Given the length of time between the measurements, the cause of this increase in mental health visits is unclear but likely the result of a number of factors. It may be related partly to the pandemic; to a growing appreciation for the importance of good mental health; to reduced stigma about seeking treatment — particularly among young adults versus older adults; to changes in the ways health insurance plans cover mental health treatment; or to other factors.

Indeed, upticks in mental ill-health metrics are not necessarily a bad thing. More than likely, part of the increase is due to bad things (limited access to care, insufficient preventive measures, etc.). And some of it may be due to good stuff (reduced stigma, compliance with the Mental Health Parity Act, etc.).

Employee benefits and wellbeing professionals, consider…

…We lament woefully low EAP utilization rates… and increased mental ill-health prevalence. Make sense? Maybe, because ideally we want more people seeking care (and/or preventive measures implemented) with the long-term goal of decreased prevalence. (Gallup did also report that more people are seeking care. Good, right?) But with this outcome being a distant goal, it seems we want to have our cake and eat it too: We want fewer people saying they need support, but more people receiving it.

Gallup got it right in stating, as objectively as possible, “this increase in mental health visits is unclear but likely the result of a number of factors.” The sky may be falling, but we can’t conclude that based on this Gallup data.

2020’s Trends and Transactions Foretell the Wellness Industry’s Future

in business, Employee Wellness Programs, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

Work-from-home, social connection, telehealth, social justice, mental health… and, of course, the COVID-19 disease itself have been the hot topics of 2020 in the employee wellbeing world.

Meanwhile, the US wellness industry — the business of employee wellbeing — grinds on, with a slew of trends and transactions that foretell its future. Here, I’ve summarized the commercial patterns and milestones that signal which doors are closing and which may open. Continue reading »

HES Unveils “Work of Art”

in Wellbeing

Work of Art LogoJozito’s Bob Merberg Served As Key Consultant For Innovative Emotional Well-Being Program

MindfulnessGratitudeOptimismConnection, and more.

The Art of Living an Emotionally Healthy Life

I’m delighted to tell you about a solution to an employee well-being gap I’ve written about often — a solution just announced by my client, Health Enhancement Systems (HES)…

Work of Art is a program about the art of living an emotionally healthy life, featuring the personalizationquality, and spirit that only HES can deliver. As a consultant on the product, playing a major role with background research, content development, testing, and some feature design, the release of Work of Art — a program I’m certain will make a difference in the lives of workers and the organizations that employ them — is one of the proudest milestones of my career.

I urge you to learn more about Work of Art, and to pass this message along to your colleagues, because it may just be the most important employee wellbeing product of its time.

Employees with Mental Illness: Too Many To Be Obscured

in Uncategorized, Wellbeing

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 20% of people live with a mental illness.

past year prevalence of Any Mental Illness among U.S. adults

Mental and behavioral disorders are the 3rd-leading cause of disability in the U.S. That’s a lot and warrants special attention.

Chart of the leading causes of disability, showing mental and behavioral health as the 3rd leading cause

Not everyone recovers from mental illness. Many (here, I don’t have stats, but the 20% figure  —  and my own observations  —  suggests this is true), suffer their entire lives with mental illness, and an increasing number of people end their lives as a result. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. We need to help these people.

Mental health and emotional wellbeing, unquestionably, are important for everyone. But in the wellness industry’s well-meaning enthusiasm for covering everyone under the mental health umbrella, we must be sure not to marginalize the large portion of people experiencing mental illness.

If we do communicate that there’s no difference between someone with a common disabling mental illness  —  like PTSD, bipolar disorder, and anorexia nervosa, as well as severe depression and anxiety  —  compared to anyone else who may be going through a tough stretch in an otherwise smooth-sailing life, we risk perpetuating mental health stigma rather than alleviating it.

If you’re thinking about implementing a mental health strategy in your workplace, check out the Workplace Mental Health resources available here on the Jozito website.