Investing in Mental Health to Support Our Workforce

While the COVID-19 pandemic has remained a national priority for health and non-health sectors alike, there is a second nation-wide health concern that has been quietly growing – a mental health crisis. Prior to 2020, 1 in 10 adults reported feeling symptoms of anxiety and depression, a number that has now grown to 4 in 10 adults. Additionally, mental health’s cost to the economy is projected to rise to $6 trillion by 2030. Research has found that every dollar invested in treatment generates a four dollar return in productivity, meaning investment in employee mental health and wellness is investment in productivity. While the CARES Act allocated $425 million to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to assist increased demand for mental health treatment, there are still significant and persistent gaps in mental health supports and access to appropriate care.

This briefing examined the burgeoning mental health crisis, partially exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and explored policy options to support increased mental health wellness at work and at home. Panelists outlined recent statistics related to mental health and the role of employers in supporting mental health and wellness, defined current policy and private-sector options for support, and offered insights into how the nation’s mental health impacts our economic performance.

This is the final event in Part I of the Alliance for Health Policy’s 2021 Signature Series focused on health and the economy. See previous events in this series here.


  • Chatrane Birbal, MPA, Vice President, Government Relations, HR Policy Association
  • Jonah C. Cunningham, MPP, Government Relations Manager, Trust for America’s Health
  • Beth McGinty, Director, Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy Research, and Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Kana Enomoto, M.A., Senior Expert, McKinsey & Company (moderator)