New Survey From Meru Health Finds That 50 Percent of People Have Not Sought Mental Health Assistance Even When They Thought They Needed It – Mostly Due to Cost

Survey of 1,321 US employees provides insights into how and when they leverage employers’ mental health benefits

Meru Health, which provides the most comprehensive online mental health solution for depression, burnout, and anxiety, announced today the results of a new survey it conducted of U.S. consumers on mental health benefits available via their employers. The survey explored which benefits respondents had access to, whether or not they had used those benefits, and overall perceived barriers to obtaining mental health assistance.

Each year, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, making this data particularly timely.

1,321 people completed the survey, which was conducted March 30-31, 2021 via SurveyMonkey. Highlights include:

  • 71 percent have access to mental health benefits via their employer (another 15 percent were unsure if they had mental health benefits or not).
  • 50 percent of all respondents have not sought mental health assistance in the past even when they knew they needed it.
    • Among those who had access to mental health benefits from an employer, 38 percent said they have not sought mental health assistance when needed.
    • The top reason why among all respondents was “too expensive” (38 percent), followed by “too difficult” (35 percent) and “not enough time” (28 percent).
    • About one quarter were worried about stigma or confidentiality, and 23 percent did not pursue care because they were unable to find a provider.
  • What employees want most from employers in terms of mental health benefits: full cost coverage (31 percent) and quick access to care (24 percent).
  • On average, about 1 in 4 employees (24 percent) would prefer digital mental health assistance over in-person assistance. This number was higher (33% percent) among those 30-44 years old, and lower (25% percent) among those 18-29 years old. And the preference for digital services was nearly 70% higher among men (29%) than among women (18%).
  • 30 percent of employees would prefer a program that enables them to chat online or via text with providers daily or as needed.

“It’s shocking to me to see so many people not pursuing the mental health assistance they need,” said Kristian Ranta, CEO and Founder of Meru Health. “I envision that one day getting help for mental health problems would be as easy and stigma-free as it is for any other health problem. To get there, employers need to ensure all employees are aware of their mental health benefits, and that employees know that such programs are completely confidential and that there is no shame in asking for help. Providing digital options offers a low-threshold and flexible option to get care whenever and wherever needed. It also allows for asynchronous care: you can get help and talk to someone when you need it and not have to wait for your appointment.”

As the need for mental health assistance ballooned during COVID-19 (US cases of anxiety and depression tripled), so did demand from employers for digital mental health assistance options, says Ranta. “We have seen really impressive fast-tracking with contracts as employers are rushing to support their employees through these tough times,” said Ranta. “Our growth in terms of patients treated was 5X in 2020 alone, and has continued to grow as employers realize that these programs not only reduce barriers to care for conditions like anxiety and depression, but are also proven to be as effective or even more effective than traditional in-person therapy or medication.”

Meru Health’s 12-week program consists of four elements:

  • Continuous remote care: Personal licensed therapist support daily/bi-daily via chat.  
  • App-based lessons & practices: to help regulate emotions, improve sleep, enhance nutrition, and build life-changing habits. 
  • A Biofeedback Monitor: that tracks the small beat-to-beat changes in heart rate when breathing to help recognize and track physical response to stress. 
  • Peer-Support: Anonymous and confidential support to share experiences and learn from others. 

Meru Health has published clinical outcomes with Stanford, Harvard and UC Davis that demonstrate 2-3X better clinical effectiveness and longer lasting results versus traditional standard of care in the U.S. today. To learn more about Meru Health, visit https://www.meruhealth.com. 

About Meru Health

Meru Health is setting the new standard in mental healthcare with the most comprehensive online solution that combines licensed therapists and psychiatrists, a smartphone-based treatment program, biofeedback training, anonymous peer support, and habit-changing activities for sleep, nutrition and more. The company is committed to evidence-based care and has published groundbreaking clinical outcomes with Stanford, Harvard, and UC Davis that demonstrate 2-3X better clinical effectiveness and longer lasting results versus the standard of care in the U.S. today. Meru Health partners with major health insurance providers like Cigna, Humana and Moda Health, as well as leading businesses who want to provide best-in-class mental health care for their employees or members. For more information, visit www.meruhealth.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Media contact:

Kerry Metzdorf
Big Swing
978-463-2575
kerry@big-swing.com

Source: Meru Health