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[Changemakers] The Importance of Mental Health Benefits ft. Teladoc

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This post was written in partnership with Teladoc Mental Health.

1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness in a given year, but less than half receive treatment. These conditions have serious implications, including ER visits, cardiovascular conditions, metabolic conditions and substance use disorders. 

But the average person doesn’t know where to begin when it comes to caring for their mental health, according to Renese Super, LCSW, solution strategy consultant at Teladoc Health. And stigma is still a big barrier. 

“Stigma is still very much with us,” Super said. “I think some of the good news is that 65% of folks are more willing to engage in employer-led mental health care than ever before.” 

Employer-provided mental health care, such as that provided by Teladoc, lowers the barrier to entry and provides full-spectrum care for everyone to maintain and improve their mental health—not just those with a diagnosis. Mental health strategy needs to happen over a continuum of complexity. 

These solutions also provide a layer of anonymity, which can support folks who may be wary of mental health care or may face stigma from their community. Certain demographic groups may experience more stigma than others. 

“People are using crisis text lines more than ever before. We’re getting great outcomes by using crisis text lines on a national level. You add a layer of anonymity and privacy for folks.”

Super also emphasized the importance of full-spectrum care to improve the health of the whole person. Mental health shouldn’t be segmented from physical health.

“If I’m not getting out of bed because my depression is not well-managed, I’m certainly not doing things like tracking blood glucose for diabetes,” Super said. 

The data shows that people are engaging with employer mental health plans. And employers and leadership have the power to normalize conversations about caring for one’s own mental health.

“Any leader on this call, whatever they can do to share their own personal struggle, share the struggle of a family member—all of that normalizes it for all of us,” Super said. “It makes for an environment where we can have those conversations.”