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Mental Health in the Workplace

Theresa May has announced to launch a review into mental health practices in the workplace. The package reforms announced on the 9th January 2017 will focus on and around supporting mental health. The review will look at how best to support employees with mental health issues, ensuring they can perform to their best abilities while at work. The review will also look to promote how employers can assist with employee well-being and mental health challenges and how to implement the best practice around mental health in the workplace.

According to Mind there is a strong culture of fear around mental health in the workplace which is proving costly to employers.

Recent reports have found that 33% of employees feel comfortable talking to their employer about a mental health issues.

The report, which surveyed 3,006 UK employees, found that 36% of employees know of colleagues who have complained about being stressed to their employer, however have received no support for this. 6% of employers have said they would like to do more to support and improve staff wellbeing but do not feel they have the right training and guidance to do so, according to Mind.

It also found that 56% would not feel comfortable talking to their fellow colleagues about issues such as depression and stress. With 44% of employees knowing someone who has had to give up work due to a mental health issue such as stress.

This research also highlighted that 31% would speak to fellow work mates about taking time off work due to a mental health issue such as depression, however 56% would not be comfortable in doing this.

Director of psychological services at Axa PPP Healthcare, Dr Mark Winwood states:

“Being afraid to open up about personal problems, whether they’re work related or not, can seriously affect employee wellbeing. Mood, productivity and engagement can all be disrupted. To help address this, it’s important for the organisation’s leadership to promote a positive, supportive workplace culture where employees are encouraged to speak up and seek support for the challenges that are proving difficult to overcome.”

This announcement from the government will lead to employers to recognise the taboo around mental health, will encourage employers to take action and to normalise conversations around mental health issues such as stress and depression. Employers will see the benefits of reduced staff absences and will have a healthier, happier and productive workforce.

With 75% of respondents feeling stressed at work over the last 12 months, and with 20% having had time off due to stress, addressing the issues of mental health in the workplace should now become a high priority for employers.

Implementing a Private Medical Insurance policy or just a simple Employee Assistance Programme can help to support the employee when they need it the most.

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