Tackling Mental Health Issues with Group Income Protection

Every year, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem, while hundreds of thousands struggle on a longer term basis, according to the mental health charity Mind.

Research released in January this year by Canada Life shows that 57% of UK employees have suffered from mental health problems while in employment.

Similarly, recent research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that in the last five years, the number of people in the UK who have experienced mental health issues while in employment has jumped significantly from a quarter to a third.

The bottom line is that mental health issues are perhaps a lot more prevalent than many people might imagine. However, the same Canada Life research in January also found that a third (33%) of employees say their employer approaches mental health issues in a negative way.

All of these statistics demonstrate that mental health issues absolutely need the same levels of support that physical health issues receive. The problem, though, is the stigma attached to mental health means that it’s often viewed as a taboo subject and not given as much attention in the workplace as it warrants.

This is of particular concern for individuals who do not have adequate financial safeguards in place and could find themselves in debt or arrears because of a mental health issue.

In fact, the Office of National Statistics says that one in four people with a mental health condition will find themselves in debt or arrears.

But the correlation between debt and mental health issues isn’t always clear cut. For example, a worrying debt may cause someone’s mental health to deteriorate. Likewise, problems affecting a person’s mental health can cause changes in their spending habits, which can lead to them becoming indebted.

The effects of mental health issues on a person’s life are difficult enough to deal with, sometimes unbearable. But those effects are magnified when they are compounded with additional financial insecurity.

Employee Assistance Programmes are Integral Parts of Many Group Income Protection Plans

Fortunately, employers can provide their staff with adequate financial safeguards through Group Income Protection policies. In addition, many of these policies feature Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs). These integral components of most Group Income Protection plans can significantly help employees with any mental health issues they may be experiencing.

One of the biggest hurdles at present when it comes to organisations taking out Group Income Protection is a perception that such policies are expensive.

Research by trade body Group Risk Development (GRiD) recently found that Group Income Protection typically costs less than 1% of payroll. However, 60% of employers believe the cost to be much higher, with 9% believing it will cost them in excess of 10%.

This incorrect misconception is undoubtedly a reason why some companies do not currently offer Group Income Protection for their employees.

Group Income Protection policies offer so much more than the obvious valuable benefit of protecting an employee’s income and are a cost-effective way of helping to manage absence in the workplace.


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