Cigna Survey Confirms Mental Health Services, Support Critical to Pandemic Recovery

Cigna International released its seventh annual 360 Well-Being Survey with several new topics included to reveal the impact of COVID-19 on virtual health, whole person health, resilience and remote work. Opinion data from more than 18,000 adults in 21 markets across five continents confirms global pandemic recovery will require successful vaccination programs and a holistic view of supporting mental health by employers and governments.

Findings confirm the connection between greater vaccine uptake and access to successful vaccination programs, with more positive perceptions of health and well-being first shown in Cigna’s 2021 COVID-19 Vaccine Perception Survey. Among the markets with high vaccination rates, the United States, United Arab Emirates, Spain and Saudi Arabia, even reported well-being scores exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

In contrast, markets where vaccination rates are lower such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, had lower well-being scores, despite not yet experiencing surges in cases and still maintaining a relatively lower number of deaths related to COVID-19 at the time of the survey. This negative outlook may be linked to the struggle to reach herd immunity in those markets, a milestone that experts widely agree is the long-term solution to beating COVID-19.

Seventy-two percent of respondents rank mental health as the most important influence on personal health and well-being, followed by physical health at 70 percent. Although stigma around mental health persists, the rise in adoption and availability of virtual health tools offers an opportunity to help people access the care they need, when they need it. Globally, use of virtual consultations to access mental health therapy and counseling services increased 89 percent since the beginning of the pandemic, echoing data from the United States in Cigna’s One-Year Impact of COVID-19 report, which showed nearly two-thirds of behavioral care was performed virtually.

Only 28 percent of respondents are confident in their ability to maintain their current standard of living, and 19 percent of respondents say they feel very good or excellent when asked if they have sufficient money for retirement.

This survey found that global working parents with younger children (aged under 18) reported the highest well-being score of 66.2 percent and are the most positive group across almost all elements of the five indices. The research found 83 percent of respondents in this group are confident in their ability to support their children’s education and 84 percent are positive about their ability to take care of their children’s health and well-being.

Respondents reported an increased desire to work from home, with 26 percent citing the greater connection with family as one of the key benefits of remote working. Employers should take note of this trend as employees now expect flexibility and better support in terms of access to health and well-being services, with mental health and stress management seen as critical elements, as well as financial advice.

The Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey measures perceptions of health and well-being based on five indices – family, financial, physical, social and work. The 2021 report includes additional topics of virtual health, whole health, resilience and working from home. Click here to download the full report.