Mental health in the workplace
Mental health issues can be an everyday reality for many people in the workplace. According to figures from the NHS, one in four adults experience a diagnosable mental illness, such as depression, bi-polar disorder, stress, or anxiety, each year.
These mental health issues affect all aspects of people’s lives and relationships, including their jobs.
Unfortunately, workers suffering from mental health issues often hide their condition because mental ill health has long been considered a stigma in the workplace. The result is a damaging cycle of hidden symptoms, treatment not sought, a sense of isolation and worsening mental health.
Supporting employees’ mental health
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Absence Management Survey 2016, compiled in partnership with Simplyhealth, has found that stress and mental health issues are two of the most common causes for both short-term and long-term absence from work.
But an increased awareness of mental health issues means more employers are starting to understand that employees’ mental health can fluctuate in the same way physical health does. Just as anyone can break a leg, have asthma or get cancer, any of us can develop depression or experience the symptoms of anxiety.
- Mental health problems accounted for 15.2 million sick days in 2013
- However, the true scale of absence caused by poor mental health is unknown, both because of the perceived stigma and the complexity of conditions
Understanding mental health issues can help employers improve staff retention and absence management.
How health plans can help
With our health plan Optimise, employees have access to the myWellbeing portal that allows employees to manage their health online.
Included in myWellbeing is an employee assistance programme with up to six structured counselling sessions (per person, per issue, per year) by telephone. To access face to face counselling clients will need to select the ‘enhanced’ version of the Optimise product.
Members also have remote access to a GP service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Early intervention can give employees help with their mental health when it’s needed most, providing coping strategies to prevent a slide into long-term illness.