Keeping mental health research and response top of mind

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to tug at our society’s collective mental state with its unrelenting demands: maintaining distance from others, wearing of masks, being more thoughtful than ever before about sanitizing measures, and so on. We recognize that this new and often tiring circumstance calls for  increased behavioral health support.

Recent data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underscores the need for reliable mental support. Their findings indicate that one in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 say they've considered suicide in the past month (of the survey period) because of the pandemic.1

We have responded, in part, with the creation of Cigna’s inMyndSM, our new behavioral health solution. It’s included with our integrated pharmacy benefits at no additional cost. It uses connected pharmacy insights, spanning our customers’ mental health needs, to help identify those patients at risk. It then links patients with providers and behavioral health experts for improved outcomes and lower costs.

This allows for many helpful opportunities, including:

  • Earlier and better education
  • Navigation through available mental health resources
  • Counseling support

Research like Cigna's U.S. Loneliness Index, a series of studies conducted over the past two years, are also at work to help lead the way to improving personal and professional health in a COVID-19 world. As part of our ongoing efforts to check in on the state of our customers’ mental health, Cigna embarked on our study of loneliness and its impact in a 2018 survey of 20,000 adults.

Cigna’s U.S. Loneliness Index showed:2

  • Nearly 50% of Americans reported some degree of loneliness.
  • One in four Americans rarely or never feel as though there are people who understand them; and
  • Generation Z (adults ages 18-22) is the loneliest generation and claims to be in worse health than people older than them.3

In 2019, we set out to better understand the loneliness epidemic and expand our research to examine loneliness in the workplace. This resulted in our Loneliness and the Workplace: 2020 U.S. report. We found that loneliness is increasing, with about 61% of workers, or nearly three in five Americans, considering themselves lonely.4

Express Scripts also conducted a “State of Mind” study during Q1 2020 to assess the state of mental health amidst reactions to COVID-19. Findings showed that at the onset of the pandemic, prescriptions for anti-anxiety treatments increased by 31.4%, while prescriptions for antidepressants increased by 18.6%.5

We will continually keep mental health support a top priority. We encourage employers to consider applying the insights we’ve gleaned to help make positive changes for workers. Even small changes may make a big difference. These include learning to recognize loneliness in an employee population, finding ways to stay connected even while working remotely, and creating a culture of wellness for all – whether working in the office or at home.

LEARN MORE:

  1. Ehley, Brianna. “CDC: One quarter of young adults contemplated suicide during pandemic.” CDC.gov. August 13, 2020.
  2. Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index. 2018. https://www.cigna.com/static/www-cigna-com/docs/about-us/newsroom/studies-and-reports/combatting-loneliness/loneliness-survey-2018-full-report.pdf
  3. Bruce, Liana DesHarnais, et al. "Loneliness in the United States: a 2018 national panel survey of demographic, structural, cognitive, and behavioral characteristics." American Journal of Health Promotion 33.8 (2019): 1123-1133.
  4. Cigna. Loneliness and the Workplace: 2020 U.S. report.https://www.cigna.com/about-us/newsroom/studies-and-reports/combatting-loneliness/research-report
  5. America’s State of Mind, an Express Scripts Report. April 2020 – stats reflect mid-February 2020 to mid-March 2020 timeframe.

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Health benefit plans vary, but in general to be eligible for coverage a drug must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), prescribed by a health care professional, purchased from a licensed pharmacy and medically necessary. Some plans require use an in-network pharmacy for prescriptions to be covered. Coverage is subject to any plan deductible, copayment and/or coinsurance requirements. Product availability may vary by location and plan type and is subject to change. All group health insurance policies and health benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For costs and complete details of prescription drug coverage, contact a Cigna representative.

All Cigna products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, (CHLIC), Cigna Behavioral Health, Inc., Cigna Health Management, Inc., Accredo Health Group, Inc., Express Scripts, Inc., ESI Mail Pharmacy Service, Inc., Express Scripts Pharmacy, Inc., Tel-Drug, Inc., Tel-Drug of Pennsylvania, L.L.C., Lynnfield Drug, Inc., and HMO or service company subsidiaries of Cigna Health Corporation. Policy forms: OK - HP-APP-1 et al., OR - HP-POL38 02-13, TN - HP-POL43/HC-CER1V1 et al. (CHLIC). The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are trademarks of Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. "Express Scripts" is a trademark of Express Scripts Strategic Development, Inc. This newsletter is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

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