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The exponential growth in need for services combined with a major shortage of providers presents a significant challenge for employers looking to meet their employees’ mental health needs. (Photo: Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock.com)

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has generated a surge in stress and anxiety, creating a need for employers to step up their mental health offerings. According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, Americans are experiencing higher levels of general stress than in recent years. The Lancet Psychiatry Journal recently found that 20% of COVID-19 patients later developed a mental illness, and TouchCare’s own member data shows that behavioral health-related inquiries have doubled since March and the first wave of COVID.

Related: As challenges pile up, Americans’ ability to bounce back falls

By all accounts, the pandemic has exacerbated an already rampant mental health crisis in America. A 2019 Substance Abuse & Mental Health study showed that even before the pandemic set in, 16.5 million Americans said they needed mental health treatment or counseling but didn’t receive it. Now, with COVID-19 worsening an already bad access problem for mental health services, it’s up to employers to offer virtual options to their employees as a standard part of their health care strategy. The exponential growth in need for services combined with a major shortage of providers presents a significant challenge for employers looking to meet their employees’ mental health needs. However, those who do not rise to the challenge will face significant losses in productivity, which will directly impact business success.

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