American Worker in Crisis

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The American Worker in Crisis: Study Finds 83% of US Employees Are Experiencing Mental Health Issues

Analysis by Lyra Health and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions also reveals that 40% of workers don’t feel employers support their mental health

BURLINGAME, CA and WASHINGTON — July 23, 2020 — Lyra Health, a leading provider of innovative mental health benefits for employers, and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance), today announced findings from a study of more than 1,200 US-based employees who receive health insurance through their employer. The June study, “The American Worker in Crisis,” set out to determine exactly how both the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide racial justice movement have affected the American workforce’s mental well-being.

According to the data, 83% of American workers are experiencing mental health problems and are almost equally impacted by both the pandemic and the racial justice movement. Meanwhile, 40% don’t believe their employer cares about their mental health, beyond just being productive at their job. The research also found that amid all of the uncertainty and work disruption, employees who don’t believe their employer supports their mental health are almost twice as likely to be considering a career change.

“The findings of the study are eye-opening — including the fact that many of these employees have struggled to access mental health treatment, with only 14% stating that they have spoken to a mental health professional during this time of turmoil,” said Joe Grasso, PhD, Clinical Director of Partnerships at Lyra Health. “What this research surfaces is that while some employers are stepping up to support their people amid the pandemic and racial justice movement, much more needs to be done to make quality mental health care accessible today for America’s workforce.”

Alarming Number of Workers in Severe Mental Health Crisis and Experiencing Emotional Instability

The study also points to an increasing body of evidence supporting a recent uptick in severe mental health problems. Approximately 11% of respondents have thought about harming themselves or others, which was overwhelmingly driven by those considering self-harm (77%). This finding parallels a recent survey of Lyra mental health providers, which found that thoughts of suicide or self-harm surged amid the early days of the pandemic, with 12% of individuals registering for care through Lyra indicating thoughts of self-harm or thoughts of suicide — a 33% increase from January.

Worry and fear are also pervasive among U.S. workers, with two-thirds stating that they are insecure about their or their family’s future. More so, the study found that 43% feel sad, 36% feel angry, and 30% are experiencing significant levels of anxiety and stress that interfere with their work.

“If ever there were a time for employers to prioritize the mental health of their workforce, it is now,” said Michael Thompson, President and CEO of the National Alliance. “At a time when so many are struggling, employers need to reinforce that the health, safety and well-being of their employees is job one.”

Employers Must Do More to Support Workforce Mental Health

Faced with these unprecedented challenges, many employers are still not providing adequate support for their employees’ mental health. In fact, one in four respondents said their employer does not support their mental health at all, and nearly half stated that their employer had not communicated any message of support related to the pandemic or the racial justice movement.

Furthermore, of those who have sought mental health care, 60% paid out of pocket — another roadblock for employees who are in need of mental health care but may be unwilling or unable to pay for this much-needed help during a time of economic uncertainty.

Growing Mental Health Epidemic Has Financial Implications for Workers and Businesses Alike

As the study suggests, the implications of poor mental health on America’s workforce are far-ranging and include the potential for significant financial impact for employees and employers alike. In fact, 38% of US workers say their mental health struggles over the last few months are causing them to consider a complete career change, which is driven mostly by those who don’t think their employer supports their mental health.

As workers struggle with issues ranging from financial pressures, relationship stress, and burnout, their ability to focus and be productive is also decreasing. Sixty-five percent of employees reported that mental health issues are directly impacting their ability to work, and 24% reported either significant or extreme impacts. In addition, 40% feel completely burned out, and 60% say that financial stress is negatively impacting mental health.

For more information about “The American Worker in Crisis” study from Lyra Health and the National Alliance and insight on how employers can best support the mental health of their workforce, visit:

The study was conducted by independent brand intelligence firm Survata, analyzing data from 1,200 U.S. consumers between June 25 and June 30, 2020.

About Lyra Health
Lyra Health, a leading provider of innovative mental health benefits for more than 1.3 million U.S. employees and dependents, is transforming mental health care by creating a frictionless experience for members, providers and employers. Using matching technology and an innovative digital platform, Lyra connects companies and their employees — plus spouses and children — to world-class therapists, mental health coaches, and personalized medication prescribing. Leading self-insured employers partner with Lyra to tailor value-driven mental health benefits programs specific to their workforce. With Lyra, benefits leaders can offer employees fast, reliable access to clinicians who practice evidence-based mental health care approaches that have been proven effective. For more information, visit:, and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

About 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 over $300 billion annually on healthcare. To learn more, visit and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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