Behavioral Health: Employers Mark Your Calendars

The World Health Organization has declared October 10 as World Mental Health Day; a day to reflect on how far we’ve come in recognizing mental health as a critical issue. Approximately 46 million people—1 in 5 American adults—experience some degree of behavioral health issue each year.[1] Less than half receive care.1

Behavioral Health Needs Unmet

Unfortunately, those receiving care are not always receiving evidence-based care. While evidence shows patients should remain on antidepressants for at least one year, only 68% of commercial plan patients remained on an antidepressant for 12 weeks in 2018.  By 6 months, that number dropped to 52%.[2]

Even more concerning is the lack of follow-up care. In the same year, only 68% of adults and children received appropriate follow-up care within 30 days of a mental health hospitalization. That means almost a third did not receive any follow-up care after hospitalization.3

What Can Employers Do?

October 10 is also a day to think about how each of us has a part in improving mental health in our country. In honor of World Mental Health Day, we ask all employers to set time on your calendar to focus on mental health. Consider:

  • Does your health plan meet the NCQA standards outlined in the Managed Behavioral Healthcare Organization Accreditation program or the Health Plan Accreditation program? Standards ensure that best practices are being implemented to guarantee high-quality, coordinated care.
  • How well do your health plan partners perform against evidence-based guidelines, including medication adherence and post-acute care strategies?
  • How to work with your health plan, employee assistance program or other entities to offer programs and services to support employees with behavioral health issues. 

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[1] National Institute on Mental Health. Mental Health Information Statistics. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml#part_154785. Accessed on August 26, 2019.

[2] National Institute on Mental Health. Mental Health Information Statistics. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml#part_154785. Accessed on August 26, 2019.

3 NCQA HEDIS Measures/Behavioral Health. Available at: https://www.ncqa.org/hedis/measures/. Accessed on August 26, 2019.