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Working Women Bear Emotional Brunt of COVID-19; Anxiety Driving Poor Workplace Performance According to Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition

National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions joins Total Brain and One Mind at Work to bring national mental health benchmark to business leaders nationwide

SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON – June 16, 2020 – As COVID-19 continues to sweep the globe, the emotional and cognitive toll on Americans remains ever present; but for working women, the impacts are greater. According to the May Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, anxiety levels for working women have increased 52% since February versus 29% for their male counterparts. Further, women’s level of depressed mood has increased 83% versus 36% for men. Women are also at a greater risk than men for general anxiety disorder (98% vs. 67%) and depression (177% vs.134%).

Additional key findings based on Total Brain assessments of working Americans ages 18+ comparing data from May 2020 (post-COVID) with February 2020 (pre-COVID):

Risk of having a mental condition
­163%Increase in risk of depressive disorders.  
­91%Increase in risk for general anxiety disorder.
­73%Increase in risk for PTSD.
Cognition and emotions
­64%Increase in feelings of depressed mood.
­47%Increase in anxiety levels.
­28%Increase in stress levels.
­23%Increase in negativity.

“The May numbers are stunning, especially when we look at differences by gender,” noted Louis Gagnon, CEO, Total Brain. “This universal mental health deterioration is unprecedented; underscoring the importance of assessing, monitoring and supporting brain health, particularly with women who have been playing double and triple roles since the pandemic erupted. The Mental Health Index shines a light on an issue that cannot be ignored.” 

The Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition was released today by Total Brain, in partnership with One Mind at Work and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance). The National Alliance, a nonprofit network of business coalitions, is the newest organization to join forces with Total Brain to bring a standardized national mental health benchmark to business leaders nationwide.

The effects of anxiety and depression in the wake of COVID-19 are also taking a direct hit on employee performance and productivity:

Productivity is down.· U.S. workers are taking 8% longer to complete cognitive tasks – an improvement from a peak of 15% in April 2020. · Aged 20-39, are taking 20% longer to complete tasks.
Performance is suffering.· Ability of working adults, age 40-49, to recall information has worsened by 7%.· Employees, age 40-59, are making 42% more mistakes.

“We’ve known that COVID-19 is driving growing concerns about mental health, which many are referring to as the second wave,” said Michael Thompson, president and CEO, National Alliance. “What we didn’t have was the data to understand the magnitude of the issue. The results should be a wake-up call for corporate America.”

“The Mental Health Index raises real concern for the overall mental well-being of our nation’s workforce,” said Garen Staglin, chairman and co-founder, One Mind at Work. “We believe that the Mental Health Index will serve as an important driver of awareness and action as we continue to bring together business leaders and employers who are committed to transforming approaches to mental health in the workplace.”

The Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition is a monthly report powered by Total Brain, a leading mental health and brain performance self-monitoring and self-care platform. The Mental Health Index was launched in April 2020.

For more information and additional insights on findings from the Mental Health Index, Total Brain, the National Alliance and One Mind at Work are hosting the first in a complimentary series of webinars on Friday, June 19 at 12 p.m. Eastern. To learn more and register:


Launched May 19, 2020, the Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition is based on 500 anonymized neuroscientific assessments (not a survey) randomly selected among thousands of Total Brain assessments taken each week by U.S. workers coming from:

  • all levels (entry, junior, intermediary, senior)
  • all disciplines (clerical, administrative, professional, trades)
  • a wide range of private industries (service, manufacturing, retail, technology, etc.)
  • a wide range of public sector institutions (cities, schools, hospitals, etc.)

The assessment uses standardized tasks that measure and benchmark 12 brain capacities and standard screening questions (e.g., DASS, PHQ2/9, GAD 2/7, CAGE-AID) to measure the risk of seven mental conditions with 70-80% accuracy. This is very different from survey data that reports on panel participants’ perceptions of themselves. Determination of statistical changes from one period to the other is established via one-way anova and linear regression analyses, using a 0.05 alpha.

About Total Brain 

Total Brain is based in San Francisco and publicly listed in Sydney, AUS (ASX:TTB). Total Brain is a mental health and brain performance self-monitoring and self-care platform that has over 800,000 registered users. Benefits for employers and payers include productivity improvement and healthcare cost reduction. Follow Total Brain on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

About One Mind

One Mind is a leading mental health non-profit that catalyzes comprehensive action across the scale of the brain health crisis, working from science to patients to society. Moving toward our VISION of HEALTHY BRAINS FOR ALL, One Mind is accelerating treatments and cures for mental disorders and providing hope to patients and their families.

Launched in 2017, One Mind at Work is a global coalition of leaders from diverse sectors who have joined together with the goal of transforming approaches to mental health and addiction. One Mind at Work now includes more than 25 global employers and 18 research and content partners. The coalition covers nearly 6 million people under its charter.

About the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance) is the only nonprofit, purchaser-led organization with a national and regional structure dedicated to driving health and healthcare value across the country. Its members represent private and public sector, nonprofit, and Taft-Hartley organizations, and more than 45 million Americans, spending $300 billion annually on healthcare. To learn more, visit or connect with on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Media Contact

Cary Conway
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