Taking Action Express: High Cost of Poor Mental Health, A Better Start for Babies, Cancer in the Workplace

OCTOBER 4, 2017

Poor Mental Health is Costing Employers Billions

One in five Americans suffers from mental illness each year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Of those, 60 percent diagnosed with stress, anxiety and depression do not seek treatment, according to the 2016 State of Mental Health in America report, compiled by Mental Health America.

Because employees are not seeking treatment for these conditions, employers are losing an estimated $225.8 billion each year due to stress, anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Read more here. Another recent article shows how benefits can help millennials improve their mental health.

Update on the Minnesota Health Action Group’s Mental Health Learning Network: 
  • The MHLN has now heard from a wide array of local and national mental health experts.
  • Now in its final quarter, the focus is on turning learning into action.
  • We have compiled a list of actions to improve mental health in the workplace, and we are gathering input from employers about their top priorities for individual and collective actions.
  • We will be reporting on high-level learnings to all employers at the December member meeting.  

September Member Meeting Recap: Employee Well-being: A Business Imperative

At The Action Group’s September member meeting, we discussed the importance of planning and implementing successful employee well-being programs. We also heard about 3M’s success story of “closing gaps” for individuals, and participated in a fun, fast-paced audience participation activity designed to uncover creative, actionable employee well-being activities and initiatives.

For a recap and new blog about employee well-being, please click here. Members may access the meeting presentations through the Member Center on The Action Group homepage.

Giving Babies a Better Start to Life  

C-section rates continue to vary significantly at U.S. hospitals. In fact, rates varied at least tenfold across 593 hospitals, from 7.1% to 69.9%, according to Health Affairs. The Leapfrog Group just released new information to help employers educate expectant employees about the importance of avoiding early elective deliveries and unnecessary C-sections to improve health for mothers and babies.

For more information:
  • Minnesota Health Action Group Maternity and Infertility Employer Purchaser’s Guide. (This resource is publicly available and can be found here.)
  • Pacific Business Group on Health Purchaser Value Network Toolkit. (This resource offers turnkey solutions for employers to promote high-value birth care and reduce unnecessary C-sections.)
  • Choosing Wisely: Why Scheduling Early Delivery is Not a Good Idea. (This and other resources about healthy pregnancy and delivery can be found here.)

Time to Register! November Member Meeting Addresses Best Practices for Dealing with Cancer in the Workplace

The impact of cancer in the workplace continues to grow as our population ages and earlier diagnosis and treatment leads to improved survival rates.

At our November meeting, we will examine how cancer presents special challenges for employers such as: How best to support employees and their families and coworkers before, during and after treatment; supporting employees whose loved ones have cancer; and ensuring compassionate guidelines and policies for serious illness that comply with federal regulations.We hope you will join us for this timely and sensitive topic.


November 16, 2017
8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. (Networking begins at 7:30)


Hilton Airport/MOA Hotel
3800 American Boulevard East
Bloomington, MN


Please RSVP to Sue Jesseman (sjesseman@mnhealthactiongroup.org)

If you are considering Action Group membership and would like to learn more, please join us at this meeting by contacting Sue Jesseman for a complimentary pass. For more information about Action Group membership, please click here.

Action Group News: Specialty Drug Innovation Update;  Summary of Annual Employer Benefits Survey; Blogs

Action Group members and staff are always busily working toward advancing initiatives that contribute to improving health care for all Minnesotans. Here are some resources you may find helpful:

Pharmacy Industry News:

Help for 75 Million Boomers!

Complimentary October Choosing Wisely employee communications from the Minnesota Health Action Group and Consumer Reports are ready! The focus is on the importance of taking control of our health and health care as we age.

As the 75 million Baby Boomers get older, they present a host of challenges and opportunities for the health care system. While the growth in Boomer patients is putting pressure on a stressed health care system, their willingness to take personal responsibility for their health and adopt what’s new and better may speed advances in things like second opinions and patient-centered technology.

Simply click on this link and select “2017 Minnesota Campaign” in the left-hand column to help your employees improve patient/provider conversations about getting the right care to stay healthy.  

Special News Alert! Deb Krause, Action Group vice president was invited to present to the Minnesota Senate her viewpoint about the value of Choosing Wisely in helping employees make wise health care choices.   

Choosing Wisely content is available at no cost to all Minnesota employers. Action Group members have access to the entire 12 months of content by logging into the Member Center on the homepage.

Member Only Meetings:
If you are not yet a member of The Action Group and would like to learn more about us, please 
contact us for a complimentary meeting pass! Membership information can be found here.
Public Meetings and Events:


“The data supports that [mental health claims] are getting worse and it is becoming somewhat of an epidemic. I think of stress as a public health issue.”
Dr. Dawn Bazarko, Vice President of Moment Health (A UnitedHealth Group business focused on bringing mindfulness to the workplace)

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