June 14, 2024

As we conclude this eventful year, let’s pause and reflect on the challenges that impacted global workplace mental health throughout 2023.

It hasn’t been an easy year. Amid the ongoing evolution of the work landscape, employees worldwide grappled with rising inflation, economic instability, and global conflict. 

Recent CDC data highlights the struggles faced by teen girls and LGBTQ+ teens, while anti-LGBTQ+ policies, mass shootings, and widespread violence have taken a heavy toll on mental health around the nation.

There is some good news—employee mental health is being actively prioritized, with more employers offering comprehensive mental health benefits. Additionally, there’s a heightened focus on implementing proven mental health solutions that enhance employee well-being faster, boosting productivity and engagement. 

To explore this further, it’s crucial to consider the broader picture. Addressing mental health requires a holistic approach, considering factors like family dynamics, teen mental health, and social determinants such as socio-economic status.

As we continue expanding our understanding of well-being, we’ll see how addressing wellness beyond the workplace can directly support the entire organization. Let’s delve into the most significant emerging trends in mental health for 2024. 

Global mental health: A continuing priority

In 2024, global mental health will continue to require attention and active prioritization by workplace leaders. Seven out of ten people worldwide struggle with mental health issues, contributing to one trillion dollars in lost productivity due to anxiety and depression in the global economy. 

Given the ongoing impact of geopolitical issues, supply chain disruptions, extreme weather events, and economic challenges on segments of the global workforce, employers must adopt global mental health strategies that transcend borders. 

Effective messaging is key. It involves more than just understanding the language of another country. It requires ensuring that all communication is culturally sound. 

Employers will also face the challenge of navigating diverse national healthcare systems. Providing comprehensive and innovative global EAP solutions is crucial, ensuring employees have fast access to the care they need.

A few years ago, we saw an emerging need for global employee assistance programs. Now, we’re seeing an immediate need for EAPs that are global, localized, and culturally relevant. These programs can sustain messaging that is both consistent and nuanced.

Strategic value in investing in family mental health

For working parents, caring for their children remains a primary focus, and the dynamics of this responsibility evolve as their children grow. In 2023, there was a notable increase in teen mental health challenges, with some ER doctors reporting a rise in kids seeking psychiatric emergency care from around 30 per month in recent years to 40 per day. 

In 2024, social determinants will continue to impact teen mental health, particularly affecting girls, LGBTQ+ children, and Black girls in terms of depression and suicide rates. When an employee’s child or teen faces mental health struggles without adequate support, it can drain their energy, hindering their ability to be fully present at work—both physically and emotionally. 

In addition to flexible scheduling, working parents require access to family-based resources. Prioritizing early and accessible mental health care for parents can yield positive, long-term outcomes. 

Organizations can offer support for parents by:

  • Offering broad-based mental health education for children, teens, and parents
  • Providing coaching services for parents
  • Offering therapy for parents and children of all ages
  • Implementing company-wide initiatives to reduce stigma surrounding teen-related issues like depression, substance use disorder, and suicide

Parents naturally have questions about their children’s development at every stage, and comprehensive care equips them to navigate these challenges. This level of support cultivates a workplace culture that’s supportive and empathetic, adding significant value to the overall well-being of workers.

Leveraging generative AI to revolutionize mental healthcare 

COVID-19 brought the virtual world closer to the workplace and healthcare system than ever before, making care more accessible and discreet for many. The next breakthrough in mental health is anticipated to come from generative AI, further reducing barriers to care as it evolves. 

AI technology can generate personalized care plans for members and match them with the right provider—with personal explanations for each recommendation, so they can understand the value behind each match.

Ongoing progress check-ins provide information on the progression of symptoms. This data informs treatment decisions, with a crucial element being a clinician on the other end interpreting and evaluating the information. 

AI is just one aspect that can help lower mental health care costs and improve ROI, and there’s a learning curve for the public. Users are still grasping the nature of AI and questioning its trustworthiness with sensitive information. Building trust relies on education and awareness as well as the ability of AI to uphold privacy standards equivalent to those of clinicians—ensuring information is not released and patient care remains protected.

Embracing measurement-based models to improve outcomes

A decade ago, behavioral health providers didn’t see value-based care as relevant to mental health. Today and as we move into 2024, we’re acknowledging its importance, leveraging measurement-based models to introduce standardization and subjectivity, ultimately enhancing outcomes.

Measurement based care emphasizes quality to track outcomes and incentivize providers. It allows us to look at what our providers are doing and ask, “How do we enhance what they’re doing so outcomes are better?”

Digital tools and platforms play a pivotal role in this evolution. Throughout 2024 and beyond, we can broaden our impact by using member data to inform treatment, identify inefficiencies sooner, and highlight successful interventions.

As providers, our primary aim is to facilitate improvement. Using digital tools to assess effectiveness and compare work with peers aligns with the essence of measurement-based care. This shift guides us to prioritize quality of care, ensuring that members receive the best possible treatment. 

Advancing health equity by addressing social determinants of health

Social determinants are intricate, nuanced, and unique to each individual. It’s crucial to understand how they contribute to health disparities in 2024. 

An individual’s mental health is influenced by economic stability, geographical location, age, family dynamics, and the political systems that shape their daily lives. Well-being depends on these foundations functioning effectively, and factors like race, gender, sexuality, and political instability can also have an impact in diverse ways. 

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging will remain priorities for organizations that want to improve employee mental health. In the past year, Black, Hispanic, Latino, and LGBTQ+ workers were more likely to report struggling with basic needs, while Asian employees expressed concerns about community safety. 

A diverse workforce requires access to a diverse network of therapists who understand how race, gender, and socioeconomic status intersect with mental health. Therapeutic alliance is one of the best predictors of mental health improvement, and this happens when a provider understands their client’s lived experience.   

Offering a clinically proven mental health benefit that leverages technology equips organizations to support cross-cultural mental health initiatives and address inequities. This approach matches employees with the right provider and drastically reduces wait times, eliminating a major barrier to equitable global care. 

Investing in comprehensive care for chronic conditions

Before the pandemic, mental and physical health were often treated separately. As we move into 2024, we’ll continue to see a significant shift toward holistic care. Addressing how chronic physical health conditions can contribute to or worsen mental health issues is becoming a focal point, with notable impacts expected this year.

Individuals with chronic physical conditions face a higher risk of experiencing mental health challenges. This year, there’s a growing interest among employees in addressing disability and chronic conditions in the context of mental wellness. 

However, access disparities persist, particularly in underserved communities. In the U.S., roughly 65% of nonmetropolitan counties lack a psychiatrist. Worldwide, extreme shortages lead to exceptional wait times and keep people from getting the necessary care. 

This underscores the importance of leveraging technology to enhance accessibility. Digital tools like telehealth and generative AI can increase accessibility and affordability and deliver personalized care quicker. Organizations are increasingly shifting toward mental health solutions tailored to the specific challenges of various conditions. 

Let’s keep the momentum going with the spotlight on mental health in 2024

In 2024, mental health is not only solidifying as a workplace concern, but we’re also delving into the nuances of this issue. Social determinants of health, family dynamics, and the necessity for global solutions and value-based care models are rightfully taking center stage in discussions on employee wellness. 

To sustain this momentum, consider taking the following steps:

  • Initiate early and frequently. Whether starting small or big, there’s no wrong way to begin addressing mental health in the workplace. Initiatives should be continuous and adaptable
  • Engage consistently. Address mental health repeatedly. Keeping the conversation ongoing ensures that employees are aware of available support and helps normalize workplace mental health discussions. 
  • Leadership training. Word of mouth remains a top way people seek solutions. Train leadership to maintain an open, continuous dialogue about stigmatized topics, fostering a supportive environment.
  • Strategic messaging. Connect mental health with physical health and develop campaigns addressing overall wellness, including emotional, physical, and mental well-being, along with cultural sensitivity.

Understanding mental health is like solving a complex puzzle. As we help individuals define their feelings and experiences, we become better equipped to support their journey to recovery, ultimately succeeding in our mission.

Discover how to address the greatest barriers to global mental health access, including diverse regional requirements, cultural stigma, and language.

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