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According to Mental Health Index: Employees’ Ability to Focus Attention and Complete Tasks Down 31%


Chronic state of anxiety and stress negatively impacting workers’ cognitive performance.

SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON, September 17, 2020 – Americans have been living in a highly-prolonged state of unpredictability amid COVID-19. The consequence of this chronic stress, anxiety and depressive mood is the declining cognitive performance of the nation’s workers. According to the Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, sustained attention, the driver of task completion, is down 31% in August when compared to February pre-pandemic. Planning, the capacity to make decisions and drive strategy, is down 15% since February.

Additional findings from Total Brain’s clinically-validated brain assessments reveal millennials, those who in the past have been shown to be among the most emotionally vulnerable groups in the COVID-19 era, are now among those showing the greatest signs of cognitive decline. According to Index findings, working Americans ages 20-39 are experiencing a:

  • 39% decline in sustained attention
  • 30% decline in planning

The Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, powered by Total Brain, a mental health and brain performance self-monitoring and self-care platform, is distributed in partnership with the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, One Mind at Work, and the HR Policy Association and its American Health Policy Institute.

“Physically, our body reacts to stress by creating a hormone called cortisol,” said Louis Gagnon, CEO, Total Brain. “Under chronic stress, high levels of cortisol for long periods of time derail key brain, heart and digestive system functions. Mentally, stress contracts our mind and reduces the cognitive flexibility that is necessary to put things in perspective, create and collaborate. Today, the Mental Health Index is demonstrating this at scale.”

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