How to Leverage World Mental Health Day to Expand Access to Mental Health Care

Mental health remains a key employer priority as COVID-19 continues to highlight global inequities, including stigma and limited access, for people seeking mental health care.

According to the Business Group’s 2022 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey, mental health is a top focus for employers during the pandemic. Ninety-one percent of employers are concerned about long-term mental health issues (e.g., depression, anxiety) resulting from the pandemic.

As employers continue to tackle stigma and provide programs to support employees and their families, World Mental Health Day (October 10) creates an effective platform to promote efforts regarding mental health.

World Mental Health Day – October 10, 2021

October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and this year’s theme is “Mental Health in an Unequal World.” Mental health and substance use disorders continue to be the leading causes of disability around the world. The strain of the global pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues. Treatment can be effective, yet between 76% and 85% of people in low- and middle-income countries and between 35% and 50% of people in high-income countries receive no mental health care.

How Are Employers Supporting Their Global Workforces?

Employers have long invested in mental health, and this work has accelerated during the pandemic. In several parts of the world, employee assistance programs are the only mental health services available to employees.

  • To fill gaps in service options and access, employers are looking at new players in the mental health space. More work, however, is needed, and employers are leading those efforts.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated progress in reducing stigma by laying bare challenges all employees are facing and notably shifting to more open discussions about mental health.
  • Employers have recognized that there is stigma associated with mental health, and 2022 will be the first time that a majority of employers have an anti-stigma campaign to address the importance of mental health.
  • Employers are providing the right resources and tools to raise awareness and empower employees to control their overall well-being, as well as creating a healthy employee population.

Here are additional relevant resources on mental health:

For more employer resources, please visit the section of the Business Group’s website on mental and emotional well-being.