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UK’s workforce still struggles with mental health

Published: 14 Jul 2015

Are you relatively happy in your job? Do you feel great about life, when you’re talking to clients about their private medical insurance options and financial planning needs? We hope so.

Mental health is still a concern
What may surprise you, if that’s genuinely the case, is just how much of the UK’s workforce still struggles with mental health issues – and how many employers are still worrying about how to deal with affected staff.

The reasons for mental health becoming a problem aren’t always clear. Tackling the source of an issue is a bold move, but figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) show that just one in six organisations has a strategy in place to help their employees achieve a better balance between their home and working lives – and that’s an important philosophical shift for business.

These facts and figures (see our infographic) may help you help your clients’ employees, so this is a topic that’s well worth exploring in detail. If you know the figures, then you’re in a better place to present the facts – and the case – for choosing healthcare products that incorporate helplines and pro-active mental health-focused action plans, at the very least.

Can we talk about it?
Mental health isn’t quite the taboo subject it used to be, though there’s still a way to go before its impact on productivity is as acknowledged as, say, a dose of flu or bout of food poisoning. In fact, over 25% of our customers that we’ve spoken to about mental health in the workplace would rather not disclose the fact they’re suffering from stress or anxiety to their colleagues or managers.

Yet – somewhat conversely – over 75% of that same audience believe there’s a significant role for employers to play in addressing mental health issues among staff, and just over a third would consider a mental health product.

So, if they’re keen to maintain some privacy and eager to address the problem, what kind of support do they want?

  • time off to support counseling sessions – 81%
  • counseling helplines – 67%
  • advice from HR or a line manage – 59%
  • information about support groups – 59%
  • online help – 56%
  • paying for face-to-face counseling or treatment – 49%

This is interesting, because it shows that employees do understand the benefit of external intervention from professional clinicians: they’re not simply looking for ‘time off to get well’.

Sources of support
What’s great to know is that some employers are providing support, and helping their employees to deal with mental health issues:

  • 25% provided support through face-to-face counseling or treatment
  • 25% provided time off to attend support sessions
  • 18% supplied advice from HR or a line manager
  • 14% provided counselling helplines

We’ve got a long way to go, but what we’d like to see, with your help, is a greater awareness of the features a Corporate PMI policy could offer to employers – and the tangible benefits those policies can provide to their employees.

Why not take a look at our mental health infographic.

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