Mental health affecting nine in 10 workers

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Mental health affecting nine in 10 workers

Research published last week by management consultancy firm, Accenture has found that two thirds (66%) of UK workers report having had a personal experience with mental ill health. This rose to 85% when individuals were asked if someone close to them had experienced mental health issues and 90% said they had been “touched by mental health challenges”.

It is encouraging that 82% felt more able to talk about such issues than they did a few years previously and that more than a quarter (27%) of respondents said they’d seen a positive change in employees speaking openly about mental health. However, 61% have not spoken to anyone at work about their mental health and 51% believe raising concerns about it might have a detrimental effect on their career.

“It’s clear that mental health is not a minority issue; it touches almost all employees and can affect their ability to perform at work and live life to the fullest,” said Barbara Harvey, a managing director and UK mental health lead for Accenture.

“This latest research highlights the need for employers to proactively manage mental health in the workplace by changing the organisational culture to be more open and supportive. EAPs are an important part of the mental health toolkit and can play a crucial role in addressing issues early before they escalate to a more serious level. We encourage employers to put in place an ongoing promotional strategy that showcases the services and support available to all employees through an EAP rather than it being seen as a safety net to help those when they have reach the point of being unable to cope,” said Neil Mountford, chair, EAPA UK.

Diary date: EAPA branch meeting, 5 December 2018, Linnean Society, Piccadilly

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Diary date: EAPA branch meeting, 5 December 2018, Linnean Society, Piccadilly

The next EAPA branch meeting will take place at 11.30 next Wednesday 5 December at the Linnean Society on Piccadilly. Coffee will be available from 11.00 am. We are pleased to announce that EAPA board members, Amanda Smith and Tracey Paxton will be running a session based on the #metoo theme about the role of EAPs in addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. This will be an interactive session for providers, commissioners and practitioners.

Former Director of Nursing, Tracey Paxton has 30 years’ experience of working within the NHS as a practising clinician and a senior hospital manager.  She is the clinical director for Amian EAP and has extensive experience of managing NHS EAP services.  Tracey has vast experience in the field of mental and physical health and wellbeing training.  She is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse in Learning Disabilities and Mental Health and has an MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy.  A trauma specialist, workplace mediator and trainer, she has published important research and received a national award in the House of Lords for her work within Mental Health.

As Clinical Director for Vivup Health and Wellbeing, Amanda Smith is a former Head of Health and Wellbeing and Clinical Lead for a large specialist NHS Mental Health Trust incorporating EAP services which supported EAP services for over 55,000 NHS and private sector employees, in addition to her strategic role within the NHS Trust. A trauma therapist, Amanda is an experienced mental health trainer, workplace mediator, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Coach and employee wellbeing thought leader.

EAPA members are encouraged to bring a colleague as a guest for this part of the meeting. Please email info@eapa.org.uk to confirm your attendance.

EAP mental health enquiries on the rise

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EAP mental health enquiries on the rise

Data from Health Assured shows that the number of mental health enquiries to EAPs by UK employees has increased by 31% since last year.

The figures released in September 2018, compare the first six months of 2017 with the same period in 2018 and show that mental health enquiries have increased more than all other advice calls, including those relating to work stress, relationships and general health, rising from 23% of all calls in 2017 to 36% in 2018.

The statistics are based on over 100,000 employee interactions with Health Assured’s EAP in the first and second quarters of 2017, and over 150,000 interactions in quarter one and quarter two of 2018.

Health Assured CEO, David Price, said: “Our statistics show that it’s important to build an open workplace culture regarding mental health from the top level down. This will involve educating all employees on mental health issues and regularly monitoring staff to see how they are feeling, whilst assessing how the workplace can be improved to support positive employee health and wellbeing. Employers should provide information on the services they have available to support staff, for example, confidential telephone advice or counselling.”

Neil Mountford, chair of EAPA UK, agrees: “Whilst it is encouraging that the statistics from Health Assured appear to show that more employees are seeking support with mental health issues, this should also be a call to action for employers to examine what they are doing at a more systemic level to build a workplace culture that promotes good mental health.”

Update from the EAPA 2018 conference

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Update from the EAPA 2018 conference

This week, EAPA UK chair, Neil Mountford reports on his recent attendance at the EAPA 2018 conference.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the EAPA 2018 conference last month, held in Minneapolis. This is the leading conference for the U.S. EAP industry but is also attended by EAP professionals from around the world.  It was encouraging to see good international representation and to have the opportunity to catch up with colleagues and understand how EAP is developing in different regions.

One of the key themes of the conference was around the development of AI technology platforms that provide interactive support for those dealing with a range of mental health and other issues who might otherwise be reluctant to seek help from a more conventional EAP.  These technologies are being positioned as complimentary to the EAP and clearly there are challenges and concerns to be addressed. However, there is no doubt that they will become an increasingly important component of EAPs in the near future.

At the event, Greg DeLapp, CEO of EAPA also announced that EAPA would be engaging external consultants to undertake a fundamental review of the organisation to understand how it needs to change to best serve the industry in the future.  The outcome of this project will no doubt offer some valuable insights and ideas for us in the UK and which we will share in due course.

Managing workplace mental health more effectively

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Managing workplace mental health more effectively

Yesterday was National Stress Awareness Day, a day created by mental health charity, Mind, to encourage people to take a moment to think about their wellbeing. It’s also a great opportunity for employers to look at what more they can do to support mental wellbeing at work.

The latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), released last week, show that work-related stress and mental illness now accounts for over half of work absences. In total, 15.4 million working days were lost in 2017/2018 as a result of mental ill health, up from 12.5 million last year. This equates to 57.3% of the 26.8 million work days lost to ill health.

“While a new 24-hour mental health hotline along with funding for a new mental health service were announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond as part of the Autumn Budget last week, it is clear that employers need to be more proactive in addressing workplace mental health and supporting their employees more effectively,” said Neil Mountford, chair, UK EAPA.

It is positive to note that a recent survey by EAPA registered provider, Aon, shows that businesses are taking an increasingly strategic approach. Aon’s UK Health Survey found that 41% of businesses currently have a mental health strategy in place and 43% more are looking to create one. “Many businesses aim to build this strategy as a core part of their employee benefits provision, recognising that the right employee benefits play a critical role in prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and longer-term support,” explained Charles Alberts, head of health management at Aon.

“EAPs are a key of that mental health strategy and we are seeing EAPs adapting and evolving to keep pace with the changing needs of employers and their employees,” said Neil Mountford. “The biggest impact is in a re-positioning of how an EAP is used, away from the last resort for serious issues and concerns towards being a more everyday source of advice and support – less the counsellor and more a friendly colleague who has the right answers. Employers are also becoming increasingly aware of the importance of data and that the more an EAP is promoted, the more it is used and that means more data is collected on employee concerns and levels of physical and mental wellbeing. This then provides an early warning system on organisational wellbeing and evidence to inform better HR strategy-making.”

“We urge employers to consult with their EAP providers and tap into their experience and expertise to better understand how EAP programmes can be used most effectively to support a wider wellbeing strategy,” said Neil.

Diary date: EAPA branch meeting, 5 December 2018, Linnean Society, Piccadilly

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in Events, News

Diary date: EAPA branch meeting, 5 December 2018, Linnean Society, Piccadilly

The next EAPA branch meeting will take place at 11.00 on Wednesday 5 December at the Linnean Society on Piccadilly. Coffee will be available from 10.30am. The guest speaker will be announced in due course and a full agenda with timings will be circulated nearer to the event. In the meantime, please email info@eapa.org.uk to confirm your attendance.

Branch meeting minutes – September 2018

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Branch meeting minutes – September 2018

The minutes from the last Branch meeting held on Tuesday 25 September are now available in the members area here. The minutes include an update on the following areas:

  • EAP calculator launch
  • Response to Thriving at Work report
  • Buyers Guide update/response to NICE guidelines change
  • Marketing/PR activity review
  • Membership
  • AGM 2019

We would also like to thank our guest speakers, Vicki Cockman, Head Commercial Business at Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Fionuala Bonnar, COO of MHFA for an insightful discussion into how EAPA UK and MHFA may be able to collaborate.

 

Update on NICE guidance on depression

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Update on NICE guidance on depression

NICE has announced that it wants to consider additional current evidence before issuing a second draft of its adult depression guidelines. It will then re-consult stakeholders for a third time before final publication of the guidance in December 2019.

In a statement last week, NICE admitted that the ‘evidence base’ used to create the previous draft recommendations ‘needs updating’. This means that the guidance on depression will come nearly two years after the planned release of January 2018.

NICE said: “In response to consultation feedback and the views of the NICE committee, NICE has decided to re-run the evidence searches to include the most up-to-date research on the management of depression in adults, including new work on patient choice and a focus on shared decision making.”

CIPD launches revised guide on Mental Health for Managers

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CIPD launches revised guide on Mental Health for Managers

The CIPD, in association with mental health charity, Mind last week launched a revised and updated guide for managers to improve support for those experiencing stress and mental health issues at work.

How people are treated and managed on a day-to-day basis is central to their mental well-being and engagement, as well as the level of trust in the employment relationship. CIPD research finds that management style is the second main cause of work-related stress, showing that how managers go about their role has a direct impact on people’s mental well-being.

The updated guidance follows recent CIPD research which found that less than one in three organisations (32%) train line managers to support staff with poor mental health. Mental ill health is now the primary cause of long-term sickness absence for over one in five (22%) UK organisations. A recent Mind survey of over 44,000 employees also found that only two in five (42%) felt their manager would be able to spot the signs they were struggling with poor mental health.

This latest resource for managers follows the Government-commissioned ‘Thriving at Work’ report last year, which made recommendations to employers about how to better support people with mental health problems to stay – and thrive – in their jobs. The independent report found a need for workplaces to improve the disclosure process, and called on employers to create an open culture where staff feel able to talk about mental health. The free guide will give managers the information, resources and tools they need to effectively and confidently support employee mental health at work. Being able to spot the warning signs of poor mental health and offer the right support early on can have a significant impact.

Rachel Suff, Senior Employment Relations Adviser at the CIPD, said: “The role of line managers in employee well-being is vital. They are often the first port of call for someone needing help, and are most likely to see warning signs of poor mental health among employees. With the right capabilities and tools in place, they will have the ability and confidence to have sensitive conversations, intervene when needed, and signpost to the right support when needed. The positive impact that this can have on people’s well-being is enormous, but the business will also reap the benefits of happier, healthier, more engaged and productive employees.”

Paul Roberts, EAPA executive member, said: “EAPA agrees that employers are increasingly taking steps to promote good mentally healthy workplaces. Our members report increasing numbers of SME employers buying Employee Assistance Programmes to catch up with the best practice employers in supporting employees. This managers guide is a great free resource.”

You can read the full guide here.

Latest news from EB Live 2018

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John Lewis’ Davison to discuss building a wellbeing culture at Employee Benefits Live

Nick Davison, partner and head of health, leisure and hotels for John Lewis Partnership, will discuss the benefits of putting health and wellbeing at the core of an organisation’s strategy at Employee Benefits Live 2018.

The session, titled ‘Building a health and wellbeing culture for competitive advantage’, will form part of the ‘benefits on a budget’ conference stream on Wednesday 3 October.

The session will be chaired by Neil Goodwin, reward director in human resources at Countrywide Group, and Davison will discuss what sets John Lewis Partnership apart from the competition in terms of its employee offering. He will explain how his organisation sees its people as its competitive advantage.

“Our health and wellbeing culture goes back to 1929,” Davison explained. “We’re an employee-owned organisation, and a democracy. The wellbeing of our partners is actually written into the first principle of our constitution. We have 83,000 co-owners and it’s important we look after the body, mind and soul of those people.

“It’s about creating a sense of belonging and caring for our prized assets, which are our people. We also need to make sure they understand and recognise that, and believe it to be true.”

To make this happen, Davison believes the approach needs to be both proactive and reactive.

He explained: “Our benefits are designed to build relationships, community and engagement, but also to allow people to enjoy a wider aspect of their personal wellbeing rather than just work. Then there is the reactive wellbeing focus around the support we provide.

“Despite all the talk of technology, people are still core to business. Without people there wouldn’t be any business.

“To deliver the level of service we provide to customers, we need our people to be fit, healthy, engaged and motivated. So their health and wellbeing is right at the core of what sets us apart from our competitors.”

Employee Benefits Live 2018 will take place on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 October 2018 at ExCeL London.

Click here for more information or to register for the show.

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