Employers reporting a greater number of cases of stress and depression, among other mental health issues


Over two-fifths (41%) of organisations have seen an increase in reported mental health problems over the last year, according to the annual CIPD Absence Management survey.

The report, conducted with SimplyHealth and due for release on Monday, reveals that 2015 is the 6th consecutive year that has seen levels of higher than 40% - indicating that this is an ongoing problem that is not going away.

The problems are said to be associated with long working hours an operational demands taking precedence over employee wellbeing.

In Carl Chapman’s blog on Monday, he discussed the importance of employer support, which is all the more prescient since the CIPD report reveals that 28% of private sector organisations are not taking action to support their employees.

Positively, the public sector is doing somewhat better, with 70% of companies offering a counselling service to their employees.

Ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10th October 2015, Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, comments: “Unfortunately, this year’s survey shows the number of reported mental health problems has increased for many employers, and after over half a decade at these levels, we can’t afford to let this issue continue to grow any longer. As a nation we’re getting better at opening up the conversation around mental health, but there is still a long way to go.

 “So what more can employers do? Manager training is crucial, as they are often employees’ first point of call for reporting an issue, but only 30% of organisations currently provide it.  There needs to be a lot more focus on this going forward, as well as tailored support for line managers from HR and signposting employees to appropriate support. Employers also need to look at how well their corporate culture supports good mental health and employee wellbeing.”

Corinne Williams, head of human resources at Simplyhealth, adds: “If organisations are to reduce reported levels of mental health absence, we need to target the root causes of mental health problems in the workplace, rather than just the signs, and deal with issues as and when they arise. An effective employee wellbeing programme, which should include a confidential employee helpline, can help to ensure there is a positive culture towards mental health, and so this should be a priority going forward.”

Read Carl's blog HERE - and Reward's accompanying editorial HERE