American mental health shows little improvement since the depths of pandemic anxiety, isolation and depression

The Mental Health Index find most workers open to a confidential mental health assessment

CHICAGO, January 26, 2023–(BUSINESS WIRE)–LifeWorks, a leading provider of digital and personal total wellness solutions, supported by TELUS Health, today released its monthly Mental Health Index reveals minimal improvement since the depths of pandemic anxiety, isolation and depression, with nearly half of American workers saying they would be interested in a confidential assessment of their mental health.

Among people who expressed interest, the preferred method of assessment was mixed: 40 percent wanted to connect online, 36 percent preferred an in-person assessment, 6 percent chose the telephone and 18 percent had no preference.

  • The American Mental Health Index score for December 2022 is 69.5 points out of 100, a modest recovery from the past two months of declines, and just three points higher than the pandemic-low score in April 2020.

  • According to the index, 25 percent of Americans are at high risk of developing a mental illness. This slight improvement over 27 percent in April 2020 is negligible compared to the much lower 14 percent of Americans at high risk during the three years before 2020. Young adults, women and people with financial worries are most at risk.

Of the factors that challenge mental health, anxiety consistently ranked with the worst mental health subscore for the past year. About 30 percent of people currently in the high-risk group have diagnosed anxiety or depression.

Finances represent the biggest concerns and barriers to mental health
Despite a national increase in average wages, inflation is the top concern for more than one-third (36 percent) of working Americans, followed by a recession (13 percent). Americans with a household income below $100,000 are 80 percent more likely to lack confidence in their problem-solving abilities under pressure and to worry about their mental health and well-being. People who lack confidence under pressure have a mental health score nearly 16 points below the national average.

Notably, since women generally earn less than men, they are 60 percent more likely than men to lack confidence in their problem-solving abilities under pressure, and have consistently and significantly lower mental health scores. The current mental health score for women is 66.8 compared to 72.6 for men. Additionally, workers who do not have emergency savings have a mental health score nearly 18 points below the national average.

Holiday stress is also associated with finances. Among Americans reporting increased holiday season stress, 34 percent were worried about being able to afford the gifts they wanted to give. The mental health score of this group is more than 22 points below the national average and another 7 points lower (hitting 40.7) for people who said this was the main reason they would not participate in holiday gatherings.

People under 40 find it harder to deal with
Mental health scores of American workers consistently improve by age group, with older workers performing the best. People under 40 are three times more likely than people over 50 to say their biggest concern is their mental health and well-being. They are twice as likely to lack confidence in their ability to handle stressors at work and in their personal lives. Workers under 40 are also twice as likely to struggle when adapting to change, a trait that correlates with a mental health score 14 points below the national average.

Comment by TELUS Health Chief Operating Officer Michael Dingle
“Over the past three years, American workers have faced increasing financial uncertainty. At the same time, young and emerging professionals have only known transitional and ever-changing workplace environments. The reality is that all change is stressful if not well managed with techniques to alleviating anxiety As employers take a more proactive role in supporting the health and well-being of their employees, organizations and leaders must be supported in building more resilient cultures by equipping their teams with coping skills that are learned, modeled and reinforced There is clearly a need for this support as employees continue to deal with change and financial stress.”

Commentary by LifeWorks Global Leader and Senior Vice President, Research and Total Wellness, Paula Allen
“The data showing that half of Americans are interested in having a mental health assessment is a call to action and is another sign that the need is significant. There is an intuitive understanding of the potential need for help, as the group who want an assessment have a much lower mental health score than those who don’t want an assessment, but most people will not meet this need, we need to take the opportunity to expand the reach of mental health professionals expand with the smart use of technology so that there is no gap between people wanting an assessment and getting it on time.While personal support will always have value, there is a growing preference among the population to use technology to support their personal mental health journey to begin.”

The Complete United States LifeWorks Mental Health Index report can be found here. This month, the report also includes insights into whether healthcare professionals treat patients differently because of race, ethnicity, gender or weight.

LifeWorks is a wholly owned subsidiary of TELUS that now operates as part of TELUS Health as a result of its recent acquisition.

About the Mental Health Index
The monthly survey by LifeWorks was conducted online from November 11 to 18, 2022 among 5,000 respondents in the United States who were employed within the previous six months. Participants are selected and data are statistically weighted to be representative of age, gender, industry, and geographic distribution in the United States. The Mental Health Index is published monthly, starting April 2020. Benchmark data was collected in 2017, 2018, 2019.

The Mental Health Index is based on an answer scoring system that then turns individual answers into point values. Higher point values ​​are associated with better mental health and less mental health risk. Scores between 0 and 49 correspond to distress levels, scores between 50 and 79 correspond to stress levels and scores between 80 and 100 correspond to optimal levels of mental health.

About TELUS Health
TELUS Health is a global healthcare company serving people in more than 160 countries, delivering both digital innovation and clinical services to improve total physical, mental and financial health and well-being across the full spectrum of primary and preventive care. By harnessing the power of technology to deliver connected solutions and services both in-person and virtually, TELUS Health improves access to care and revolutionizes the flow of information, while facilitating collaboration, efficiency and productivity for physicians, pharmacists, health authorities, allied healthcare. professionals, insurers, employers and people worldwide, advances its vision to transform healthcare and empower people to live healthier lives.

Our clinical team is composed of renowned and passionate healthcare professionals around the world who deliver best-in-class human-centred care to hundreds of thousands of employers, professionals and their families.

For more information, please visit: www.telushealth.com.


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Jill Yetman
TELUS Media Relations

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