Addressing Whole-Person and Behavioral Health during COVID-19

Providing mental health support for employees is just as important as physical health, especially in a stressful and uncertain time. (Estimated reading time: ~3 mins.)
Healthy Ways to Work - Resiliency

As employers, schools and communities map out ways to safely return to normal, supporting whole-person and behavioral health through employee mental health programs is imperative.

The need is widespread. Almost half of U.S. adults surveyed in April reported that worry and stress over COVID-19 has affected their mental health, according to research conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Also, by analyzing Express Scripts data, we’ve seen a rise in prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications increase 34.1 percent from mid-February to mid-March. We know strategies to address this crisis are needed.

Foster workforce resiliency to cope with change

Supporting a resilient workforce includes recognizing and addressing these areas of concern through employee mental health programs:

  • Increased anxiety, depression and insomnia. About three-fourths of employers surveyed in June cited mental health as a top workforce concern. To help patients and payers better recognize, treat and support mental and behavioral health conditions, Express Scripts recently launched our inMyndSM behavioral health solution, which offers the industry’s first predictive models for the progression of anxiety, depression and insomnia.
  • Substance abuse. Self-quarantine and other public health measures may disrupt access to medications and support services for those with substance-use disorders or in recovery. We also know that social isolation is a risk factor for relapse. During the pandemic and beyond, Express Scripts’ Advanced Opioid Management® program offers award-winning strategies to improve patient safety across the care continuum.
  • Stress. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers a number of tips to manage stress and build resiliency:
    • Take care of your emotional health. Digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a proven digital health tool to provide personalized support to those in need of a way to cope with today’s challenges and issues.
    • Take breaks from the news, including news shared on social media.
    • Take care of your body. Find time for deep breathing/stretching routines, healthy and well-balanced meals, regular exercise and plenty of sleep.
    • Avoid excessive alcohol use and drug use.
    • Make time to unwind and participate in activities you enjoy.
    • While social-distancing measures are in place, connect with others online, through social media or by phone or mail.
  • The need for flexibility. People are juggling multiple roles, and those caring for loved ones may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis. It's important to have a suite of solutions available to address the variety of member needs and responses.

Provide wholistic support for your members

Personalizing clinical care at the member level and connecting between care providers is crucial to healthy patient outcomes. An approach for addressing both guarantees that opportunities aren’t missed and that actions are implemented that could potentially prevent a member from an unnecessary trip to the doctor or the ER. This is true of physical and mental health.

Express Scripts’ Health Connect 360 clinical management strategy addresses most conditions that put patients at higher risk for complications of COVID-19 infection. However, it also allows plan sponsors to address COVID-19 fallouts during the pandemic, like an increase in the need for better and resilient mental health, while delivering guaranteed clinical and financial outcomes. Its transformative approach eliminates the need to implement each clinical solution one at a time. Instead, it incorporates all of our clinical capabilities, adding more as they are developed and launched to plan sponsors, especially during a time of crisis that requires a quick response.

Express Scripts is flexible and fast in bringing plan sponsors the solutions they need and COVID-19 has only continued to demonstrate that. Managing daily work-life challenges and removing barriers to employee health and productivity are at the forefront of what drives us to be the best possible partner to plan sponsors and the population they serve.

To see more solutions to support the mental health of your employees during this time, click here.


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