Headspace builds out integrated mental health platform as employee well-being becomes a top priority

Companies are grappling with a surge in mental health issues among their employees and supporting workers' well-being has become a top strategic priority.

Employers view long-term mental health as the key healthcare issue coming out of COVID-19, according to a recent survey from the Business Group on Health.

One year after its $3 billion merger with Ginger, Headspace Health has rolled out a new, unified product experience that brings together meditation and mindfulness services with Ginger's on-demand coaching, therapy and psychiatry services.

Headspace Health's full range of services are now accessible from one place, the Headspace app, which can serve as the "front door" to mental health services—from self-care tools for well-being and healthy habits, to a range of human services, from coaching through psychiatric care, to address more acute needs, according to Leslie Witt, chief product and design officer at Headspace Health 

"This new unified employee and employer experience was born out of the vision of the merger of Headspace and Ginger a year ago. Our goal has been to deliver a single destination for high-quality mental health and well-being support for all employees, regardless of where they begin their mental health journey," Witt said in an interview.

The integrated app makes it easier for employees to access mental health and well-being support and helps to reduce complexity and administrative burden for employers, Witt said.

While employers understand the imperative to provide mental health and well-being support, benefits programs have become increasingly complex to manage amid growing point-solution fatigue and inflationary healthcare cost pressures. Employers are looking for comprehensive solutions that deliver end-to-end support while ultimately reducing the total cost of care, according to Headspace executives.

"For employees, the new Headspace Health experience provides one destination for continuous mental health and well-being support, a personalized care experience that starts from the moment of enrollment, and seamless navigation between Headspace and Ginger," Witt said.

Employers benefit from being able to offer an end-to-end experience, inclusive of an EAP, from one provider. "This experience includes a single implementation process w/ robust employee communications support and end-to-end insights across their population to help them to better understand the mental health employee needs of their employees in aggregate," Witt said.

Employers will have access to joint enrollment and engagement trends, such as the percent of members using both Headspace and Ginger simultaneously, in addition to member utilization and outcomes data for each product, according to the company.

The integrated app also provides a more personalized experience for employees, she noted.

"From the onset, we’re able to get to know members - how they are doing, what they are seeking, as well as their goals and needs, through a brief survey. Coupled with evidence-based mental health assessments, ongoing check-ins and more - we’re able to construct a personalized content and care journey, providing each of our members with continuous, customized and adaptable support," Witt said.

The Headspace app also can scale the level and type of support, depending on both members’ needs and preferences. "Any given day may include meditation, a mindful walk, or a Sleepcast. Text-based behavioral health coaching is available to members 24/7 and, when warranted, video-based therapy and psychiatric services are on-hand for simple referral and easy escalation," she said.

Headspace Health's services can help address employees’ mental health needs across the spectrum, noted Russell Glass, CEO of Headspace Health, adding that leading with prevention helps to address challenges before they become acute and costly.

Last fall, Headspace merged with Ginger, creating a $3 billion mental health company. The company now has a combined reach of 100 million consumers in 190 countries, according to the company.  

The company's enterprise brands, Headspace for Work and Ginger, are distributed through over 3,700 employers, including Starbucks, Adobe, Delta Air Lines, and Paramount; and through health plans such as Cigna, the company said.

Recognizing that employee burnout is at all-time highs, Headspace Health diversified its business beyond its core mental health services and launched this past June a new leadership training program to help senior management address employee engagement.

The Headspace Health unified experience will become available to new customers beginning in January 2023.