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How Sleep Improves Employee Mental Health

August 8, 2018 / Partners

Employee Mental Health is a Priority

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. has a diagnosable mental health condition. That’s nearly 40 million Americans. Interestingly, the majority of those diagnosed did NOT receive treatment.

These findings pose an important question: if employee mental health conditions are so common, why aren’t more people receiving help?

The bottom line is: only 30-40% of those with a mental health condition will seek treatment and only 10-15% will receive high-quality care.

This occurs for a number of reasons. One barrier to care can be attributed to a fragmented and complex healthcare system that creates a lack of access to appropriate care. Another overwhelming contributor to a lack of proper care relates to individual beliefs about what it means to have a mental health condition. These beliefs might include a low perceived need for care, the desire to handle the condition on one’s own, and the stigma of condition and treatment.

More companies than ever recognize the need for mental health benefits as paramount to a comprehensive workplace wellness strategy. However, until mental health stigma in the workplace is reduced, employees will continue to suffer, and funds wasted on underutilized benefits.

Avoid Stigma with Sleep

A large clinical study found that individuals with insomnia were approximately 10-17 times more likely to have depression and anxiety, respectively, than people with healthy sleep. Though these conditions overlap, many people don’t realize that insomnia is comorbid with mental health. Insomnia is actually the most prevalent mental health condition, with 20% of the population suffering.

By going around the mental health stigma and addressing sleep instead, broader mental health concerns can be addressed in a stigma-free way. This allows employers to meet people where they are, with less navigation through cultural and social barriers.

As an increasing number of studies confirm the cooperative relationship between sleep and mental health, sleep has come to be seen as a high-priority treatment target. However, in addition to the stigma, there is a shortage of trained CBT providers and many of the well-trained providers have high out-of-network rates and full caseloads, making them inaccessible to those in need.

To directly address this problem, Virgin Pulse has integrated a fully-automated sleep improvement program designed to improve mental health without the stigma. Through our sleep program, employers are able to engage ALL of their employee population—without having to acknowledge to themselves or others that they’re improving their mental health.

Want to optimize sleep for your people? Download the Sleep toolkit to discover how you can help guide your employees’ physical & emotional health at work and boost their performance and overall wellbeing. 


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