Blue Shield of California
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September 16, 2021 - 4 min read

The growth and digital future of mental health care in the workplace

How telemedicine and online solutions are supporting mental health


Even before the ongoing effects of COVID-19 thrust mental health into the national spotlight, virtual and digital mental health services were on the rise. The strain of shifting to remote work, at-home schooling, and social isolation exacerbated the need for – and the gaps in – mental health treatment in healthcare.

Telemedicine and digital tools are here to stay, and they’re improving

Telemedicine rapidly evolved from an emerging technology in the healthcare space to an essential means of providing care. Blue Shield expanded access to telemedicine – for physical and behavioral health – during the pandemic through Teladoc, offering no-cost visits to members. Utilization has soared with a 2000% increase for mental health visits from 2019 to 2020. Teladoc was made a permanent benefit in our 2021 portfolio plans for fully-insured groups.

As part of our continued investment in telemedicine and digital solutions, we introduced myStrength, a digital experience providing evidence-based health and wellness support. Designed to manage emotional and physical challenges, such as stress and lack of sleep, myStrength can improve the health of members and productivity for employers. Recently we added an integrated coaching option for myStrength: members can now connect with a dedicated coach for guidance, one-to-one messaging, and personalized support. myStrength is available to Trio HMO and Tandem PPO members in 2021 and as a buy-up option for some additional plans in 2022.*

Although employee mental health gained attention during the pandemic, the correlation of wellness for employees and the productivity of companies is not new and we’ve been working on digital solutions for behavioral health well before COVID-19. Blue Shield of California’s Wellvolution platform has been available for years, helping members take control of their health and well-being.

Supporting employees in the workplace can also include supporting their families at home. Blue Shield has invested in two initiatives specifically supporting mental health for youth: BlueSky and Brightline.

Listen to our Healthy Dose of Dialogue podcast for more perspectives on mental health

Senior leaders at Blue Shield of California invite industry leaders to share fresh perspectives and engage in healthy dialogue about transformative marketplace trends and industry insights, including these episodes on mental health:


Insights from industry experts about the evolving landscape of mental health and what can be done to ensure this essential service is effective and accessible for everyone.


Naomi Allen, co-founder and CEO of Brightline and a leading entrepreneur, discusses how Brightline addresses the growing demand for behavioral health care and reinventing the way it is delivered for children, teens, and their families.


Patrick J. Kennedy, founder of The Kennedy Forum and author of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, dives into health equity, de stigmatizing mental health, and treating mental health as part of whole-person health.


Tracy Watts, Senior Partner and U.S. Leader for Healthcare Policy at Mercer, discusses what’s keeping employers up at night, important healthcare policies to pay attention to, and the increased need for access to mental and behavioral health, telemedicine, and virtual care.

The above episodes, and more, are available on Podbean here. More information specific to COVID-19 is available on our dedicated COVID-19 page featuring articles and Return to the Workplace guidance.

Our News Center is your go-to source for the latest news and services from Blue Shield of California, including this recent publication on The Future of Telehealth. To have News Center alerts delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe here.

*myStrength is included at no additional cost on all Trio plans, both Fully Insured and Flex Funded, and is included at no additional cost on Tandem plans that are Fully Insured only. myStrength is also available as a buy-up for any ASO, Shared Advantage or Shared Advantage+ group with an effective date of 1/1/22 or after.

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