Protecting & Promoting Staff Mental Health

In Business, Employee Benefits, Industry News by Stephen Ellis

According to new research from a leading group risk industry body, less than a fifth of employers proactively manage stress and mental health issues in the workplace.

The survey undertaken by Opinium on behalf of Group Risk Development (GRiD), the industry body for the group risk protection sector, found that just 18% of employers are proactively managing stress and mental health issues in their places of work.

Similarly, the poll of 500 HR decision makers in UK business also found that only 18% support staff with caring responsibilities and 15% take measures to improve the financial wellbeing of their staff.

The findings of the GRiD survey highlight that there is definitely still room for improvement when it comes to employers looking after the health and wellbeing of their employees.

And look after them they should!

Thriving at Work, the UK government-sponsored independent review of employer support for mental health, found the annual cost of poor mental health to employers is between £33bn and £42bn. Moreover, more than half of this cost was due to “presenteeism” – when employees still come in to work even though they are unfit to do so because of an illness or injury.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind and co-author of the Thriving at Work review, summed up the mental health situation faced by the UK workforce perfectly in his recent piece for Mental Health Today:

“At a time when there is a national focus on productivity, the inescapable conclusion is that it is in the best interest of both employers and Government to prioritise and invest far more in protecting and promoting staff mental health.”

The release of the GRiD research is particularly timely given that we have just had Blue Monday – the third Monday in January, supposedly the most depressing day of the year.

Kathryn Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “Although the term Blue Monday may be seen as trivialising mental health issues, the day can serve as a good reminder for employers to consider how they can help their people better on an ongoing basis.”

‘Supporting Mental Health Has A Very Positive Effect On Loyalty, Engagement And Productivity’

Moxham continued by saying that the mental health of employees is significantly affected by areas of their lives outside of work too, and that’s definitely something employers should realise.

“The companies that are best at supporting the mental health of their workforce are the ones that take this into consideration and look at offering more fully rounded support. And, of course, this has a very positive effect on loyalty, engagement and productivity,” she said.

In terms of what are the major causes of stress for employees, financial worries and debt problems have the potential to impact every aspect of a person’s life, affecting their productivity and often leading to increased absence.

Many employees also have caring responsibilities, having to look after an elderly relative or child, which has a similar impact on their mental health. As well as being a source of stress, said responsibilities can also add to the financial pressure many workers are already under.

​​Group Risk products provide a solution for companies that want to offer more targeted, specialist and fully-rounded mental health support for their staff.

If you’d like to discuss any aspect of Group Risk further, contact us today or get a free, no obligation quote.

Stephen joined Premier Choice in 2006 as a Group Risk consultant and became Head of Group Risk in June 2013. In December 2017, Stephen also took over responsibility for the Protection division within Premier Choice and works to grow this in the same way he has the Group Risk division. Protection is a specialist area and fits well with his experience and expertise in the group risk market.