Cigna Advances Commitment to Improving Mental Health in America

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  • Cigna brings together World Champion Michael Phelps and 19th Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Vivek Murthy to address loneliness and depression
  • Conversation highlights the powerful role of employers in improving employee health and well-being

World Champion and Mental Health Advocate Michael Phelps took the stage alongside the 19th Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Vivek Murthy and Cigna President and Chief Executive Officer David Cordani for a panel discussion about mental health in America. The conversation highlighted the rise of loneliness and depression, innovative solutions and the powerful role of employers in improving personal health and vitality.

“Understanding and solving the loneliness epidemic is both a health and a business imperative,” said David M. Cordani, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cigna. “Our research shows that a collaborative approach is essential to addressing this epidemic. This is why we are joining forces with our clients, health care providers and community leaders to drive needed change. Conversations with thought leaders such as Dr. Murthy and Michael Phelps help meaningfully advance the dialogue that will put Americans on a healthier path.”

Cigna brings together World Champion Michael Phelps and 19th Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Vivek Murthy to address loneliness and depression. (Photo Cred via Cigna)

Today, more than 46 million people are living with a mental illness1. Cigna released new findings from its 2020 Loneliness Index revealing that three in five adults (61 percent) reported they are lonely, representing a seven percentage-point increase from 2018. The study also found a close connection between loneliness and the workplace with lonely employees reporting they are less engaged, less productive and have lower retention rates.

“The most common illness I encounter as a medical professional is loneliness and it is incredibly consequential to individual health and life span,” explained Dr. Vivek Murthy, 19th Surgeon General of the United States. “To solve the loneliness epidemic, we must rebuild human connections of common interests and concerns at home, in schools and in the workplace. This is the foundation for building a stronger and more healthy society.”

“By opening up about my own struggles with anxiety and depression, I’ve learned that there are many others facing similar challenges,” shared Michael Phelps, World Champion and Founder of the Michael Phelps Foundation. “Today, I’m on a mission to share my story, raise awareness of the importance of mental health and help people make authentic human connections.”

Cigna is championing a “whole person” approach to care, redefining and broadening mental health services, expanding access to its comprehensive mental health network and making it faster and more convenient for customers to connect with their mental health provider whether in person, over the phone or virtually. To address mental health issues facing students and young people, including loneliness, depression, cyber-bullying and violence, Cigna has also committed $3 million to improve mental well-being in schools across the country.

The discussion, moderated by Business Insider’s Health Care Correspondent, Lydia Ramsey, was part of Cigna’s annual Client Forum, a conference that brings together the company’s largest employer client partners to discuss the changing health care landscape, explore innovations in whole-person health and well-being and collectively drive efforts to transform health care.

The full 2020 Loneliness Index survey report, which evaluates loneliness by demographics, industry and geographies, along with an infographic and fact sheet can be accessed here:



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