Employers becoming aware of the mental health concerns of their staff

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Employees consider stress, work life balance and insufficient sleep to be key health concerns, and while employers are beginning to understand the impact of some mental health issues, they are still lacking understanding on others, according to according to MetLife Employee Benefits.

With one in four adults experiencing a mental health condition in any given year, MetLife and Buck Consultants at Xerox have committed to breaking down the barriers around mental health – examining the impact of ignoring mental health in the workplace as compared to the impact of identification and prevention of issues.

For many employees, the key to identifying and preventing mental health problems and workplace stress is having a caring and supportive manager.

MetLife’s UK Employee Benefit Trends Study found that for every one point increase in “having a caring and supportive boss” there is a 9% increase in employee engagement.

However, there is more to workplace healthcare than this: as Carl Chapman, head of workplace health at Barnett Waddingham, explored in this week’s blog, employers must also encourage a healthy approach to nutrition and physical activity, in order to engage their workforce with their wellbeing.

Tools such as occupational health programmes and EAPs can also practically help and support employees in building up their resilience.

Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director of MetLife UK, says: “Early recognition of mental health issues and intervention can help prevent a challenging situation become a crisis. Therefore it’s important that managers are also supported by their employers with access to employee assistance programmes targeted at helping them to help their people. Having practical approaches in place can help employees feel more confident about discussing mental health issues with their line managers.”

Chris Evans, senior consultant at Buck Consultants at Xerox adds: “Stress and depression are the two leading reasons that prompt employers to implement a wellness strategy. However there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues, which can be seen as a sign of weakness. Committing to having a wellness strategy in place is the important first step to prevention and building resilience.”

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