Mental healthcare delivery and outcomes significantly lag physical health. Stigma, network and access issues, and gaps in care remain. The fragmented system often fails patients. Sadly, the statewide rate of depression remission in Minnesota at six months stands at 8 percent, and it has not improved in three years.
This takes its toll on the workplace. In a 2019 survey of 108 employers conducted by the Minnesota Health Action Group, 99 percent of responding employers agreed with this statement: “The mental health of our employees is directly linked to the overall performance of our organization.” Low emotional well-being and stress are impacting the workforce through suboptimal performance at work/presenteeism (70 percent), more absenteeism (68 percent), and conflict at work (50 percent).
As a coalition of public and private employers, Minnesota Health Action Group has convened a multi-stakeholder Mental Health Guiding Coalition (MHGC) to advance integrated mental health care and improve outcomes for patients with depression and anxiety as a standalone condition or as a comorbidity. This focus was chosen based on the prevalence of depression and anxiety, the fact that employers pay for care, that it is evidence-supported, and the project team has the capabilities to measure, report, and improve outcomes.
The MHGC launched in February 2019 and is presently working on a core set of activities and deliverables to improve patient outcomes by engaging stakeholders to work in their own sphere of influence, identify opportunities to “connect the dots” between separate initiatives in the community, and collaborate for collective impact.
This project will leverage the MHGC’s current engagement and momentum to scale the work statewide. The focus is on Minnesota (location) and the workplace (setting), recognizing that it is essential to engage the local communities where employees and families live, learn, work, play, and receive health care and social services. The long-term objective to increase the statewide rate of depression remission at six months from 8 percent to 50 percent.
Key activities are:
- Community dialogues in three communities across the state to share perspectives, gather insights, and engage stakeholders in meaningful actions to improve patient outcomes.
- Community-driven, outcomes-focused research to identify solutions that will address gaps in care, improve outcomes in Minnesota, and serve as a model nationally.
- Ongoing collaboration among stakeholders to ensure relevance, alignment, and impact. The MHGC will meet quarterly, and teams will meet more frequently to advance specific deliverables.
The primary project deliverable is a research report with key findings, insights, and recommended actions to improve mental health outcomes. Supporting deliverables include report highlights, a media release, and presentation materials to share the report findings. Additional deliverables include the community dialogue presentations, media releases, posters, and handouts.
The MHGC is comprised of leading corporate and public-sector employers, government representatives, health plans, providers, and nonprofit partners that have the ability and commitment to drive improved patient outcomes statewide. The project team will leverage its networks to engage patients and additional stakeholders. Given the way the team envisions accomplishing the work, the organizations represented at the table, and the professional skills of the members, the MHGC members are both stakeholders and collaborators.