Program Showcase: Sleep for Mental Health

DMEC Staff@Work

Enhancing Sleep: Strategic Tool for Improving Employee Mental Health

Sleep for Mental HealthBy Judy Gordon

Wellness Director, The Hartford

By Jenna Carl, PhD

Medical Director, Big Health

Employee mental health is one of the most significant and difficult challenges faced by many employers today. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, neuropsychiatric disorders, including mental health conditions, are the leading cause of disability in the United States.1 For employers, the cost of depression and anxiety is double that of the next most costly health conditions. This is due to the substantial impact of mental health on healthcare expenditures, productivity, and absenteeism.2

The immense costs of mental health are due in part to the high prevalence of mental health conditions: one in five U.S. adults will suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition each year.3 Prevalence is only half of the equation; the other is insufficient or ineffective treatment, the causes of which are complex and multifaceted.

Mental health has long been underserved by the U.S. healthcare system. Prior to passage and implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), employers could restrict mental health benefits more than medical/surgical benefits.4 The MHPAEA was a much needed step in the right direction, but significant challenges remain. An astonishing 70% of those suffering from a mental health condition in the United States do not receive treatment.5

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