Surge in use of virtual health care since lockdown with twice as many mental health appointments provided
Thursday 8th October 2020
Employee benefits provider, Unum, has seen more than a 100% increase in the number of mental health appointments booked each month* through its digital health and wellbeing app, Help@hand. The number of registrations has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic with over 1,000 businesses now registered and over 200,000 employees eligible to use the services.
Compared with March, more than twice as many mental health appointments have been offered since the UK entered lockdown and now exceeds the number of physio appointments requested via the service. 96% of these appointments were offered within two working days of the date they were requested, enabling employees to get medical advice swiftly as well as preventing long waiting periods, additional stress and time off work.
Peter O’Donnell, CEO of Unum UK commented: “Our remote healthcare service has been a lifeline for many over the past few months, facilitating access to mental health clinicians and GPs quickly without the need for face to face appointments and avoiding additional pressure on NHS resources.
“Of the mental health appointments provided by Help@hand over the summer, 76% related to stress, anxiety or depression. These are conditions that can benefit significantly from early support and intervention.
“The challenges of the last six months have clearly had a physical, psychological or emotional impact on many workers and these pressures are likely to continue over the coming months. Employers can support wellbeing and productivity by ensuring their staff are fully aware of mental health support and other remote health services they have available to them.”
The Help@hand app provides quick and easy access for employees and their families to five key health and wellbeing services** including remote GPs. Insured employees with an eligible Unum policy and their partners can access up to up to eight mental health consultations per year between them. The treatment plan is usually delivered via video consultation and can include supported online cognitive behavioural therapy modules. In person treatment may also be recommended by the therapist during a video consultation assessment.
* In 2020, 39 mental health appointments were provided in March, 90 in April, 184 in May, 237 in June, 260 in July and 201 in August.
**Partners of insured employees can access all Help@hand services. Children (up to their 18th birthday or 24th birthday if in full-time education) can access the remote GP and second opinion services. Children over 18 can access the EAP’s confidential helpline and online resources.