Effectiveness of Evidence-Based Telecoaching Delivered Through an Employer-Sponsored Mental Health Benefits Platform

Telemed J E Health. 2022 Apr;28(4):486-494. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2020.0555. Epub 2021 Jun 30.


Introduction: Coaches delivering telemental health services as part of an employer-sponsored benefit may increase access to affordable and effective care. We examined the effectiveness of evidence-based telecoaching delivered via videoconferencing to people requesting mental health services during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Materials and Methods: We analyzed data from 1,228 employees (mean age = 35 ± 8 years; 67.2% female) who utilized telecoaching through the Modern Health benefits platform between March 11, 2020 and March 11, 2021. We used paired samples t tests to examine changes in well-being, burnout, absenteeism, and presenteeism before and after telecoaching and moderated regressions to test whether these changes depended on visit utilization. We analyzed rates of clinical improvement for well-being and reduction from entry in symptoms for burnout. We conducted analyses in the full sample and participants presenting with elevated symptoms at baseline. Results: Participants utilized an average of 2.6 visits. Well-being (p = 0.02) significantly increased, while both presenteeism (p < 0.001) and absenteeism (p < 0.001) significantly decreased at follow-up in our full sample, but represented negligible effect sizes. Burnout was not found to have significantly changed at follow-up in our full sample (p = 0.69). In participants beginning care with elevated depressive-related symptoms, well-being significantly increased (p < 0.001) and 46.3% experienced a clinically relevant improvement. In participants beginning care with elevated levels of burnout, burnout significantly decreased (p < 0.001) and 20.9% experienced a reduction in symptoms from entry. Conclusions: Leveraging videoconferencing, telecoaching had positive effects on mental health and workplace outcomes, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence-based telecoaching represents a promising option for achieving optimal outcomes in people who need mental health services.

Keywords: burnout; mental health; presenteeism; telecoaching; well-being; workplace.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Pandemics
  • Workplace / psychology