It’s no secret that the pandemic has exacerbated anxiety, stress, depression, and other mental health issues for so many. Research shows that at least 53% of adults in the U.S. reported negative impacts on their mental health caused by the pandemic. And this is costly for companies, not only for retention and healthcare spend, but in terms of productivity: the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that lost productivity due to depression costs American companies $44 billion annually.

With at least 1 in 4 employees looking for more mental health support from their employer, more and more companies are providing access to convenient, virtual mental health care. This trend will only grow, with the pandemic leaving long-term mental health issues in its wake and mental health benefits becoming a must-have for top companies to attract and retain talent. 

How can you ensure the mental health support you’re offering employees not only meets the moment but also improves overall health outcomes and lowers costs? The key lies in providing specialized mental health care. 

In Maven’s virtual clinic for women and families, we saw a 300% increase in telehealth appointments with specialized behavioral and mental health providers in the first few months of the pandemic. And this has remained elevated since. This means more individuals are turning to licensed professionals ranging from social workers to therapists to counselors on Maven who specialize in key areas like parenting and children’s behavioral health, postpartum depression, coping with grief from miscarriage or loss, and more. 

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This specialized mental health care can make all the difference for your employees’ health and wellbeing, not to mention your bottom line. Here are a few of the key ways it makes a difference. 

  • Integrated mental health support during pregnancy and postpartum is critical for new parents, and for outcomes. While up to 1 in 5 women experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (or PMADs), they are the most underdiagnosed, untreated, and common complication of childbirth—associated with poor overall health outcomes for new mothers and babies, which can drive up healthcare costs. For instance, pregnant women who experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are more likely to deliver preterm or by C-section, which carry significantly higher costs, and women who experience postpartum depression incur 90% higher healthcare costs than those who don’t. Ensuring women have access to mental health providers who specialize in PMADs is critical to filling these gaps and lowering costs.
  • Fertility treatments are emotionally draining, and stress is clinically proven to impact outcomes. While providing financial support is a critical component for your employees, integrating mental health support is just as important, as stress and anxiety accompany fertility treatments like IVF (in-vitro fertilization), IUI (intrauterine insemination), or egg freezing. Clinical studies indicate that stress can impact the chances of conception, as well as the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy through IVF. Employees considering or going through fertility treatments should have access to mental health specialists as part of their overall care team as they navigate every step of their journey. 
  • LGBTQ+ employees deserve gender-affirming care, and want access to therapists who understand their experiences. Providing affirming and culturally-conscious care--meaning access to providers who specialize in working with LGBTQ+ individuals and understand their healthcare needs--is proven to improve health outcomes including dramatically reduced rates of depression and anxiety, according to the American Medical Association. Whole-person care is at the heart of Maven’s care delivery model, augmenting the standard patient experience to drive engagement and outcomes, while ensuring your employees have access to the care and support they need. 
  • Working parents are putting their own mental health last right now, and they’re burning out. In a recent study commissioned by Maven, only 5% of parents said their own mental health was a top concern influencing their decisions about child care and school as the pandemic surges, even though two-thirds of parents report feeling anxious as they navigate these decisions. As you know, working parents need more support and they are expecting more from their employers to help them through this time. 

As you consider the best way to integrate specialized mental health support for your employees’ unique needs, here are actionable steps you can take today to start filling gaps: download our checklist with 8 best practices to support working parents from top workplaces for families.

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