Mental health is the number one concern for UK CEOs

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in mental health

Mental health is the number one concern for UK CEOs

Mental health in the workplace is the top priority for almost three in five (60%) CEOs in the UK and the area of employee wellbeing with which their Board is most concerned, according to a new report, Employee Wellbeing Research 2018 from Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA) in association with Punter Southall Health & Protection.

The report found that just one in six (16%) employers have a defined mental health strategy in place, however over a third (37%) plan to introduce one in the next 12 months and a further quarter (26%) by 2020. And while wellbeing spending rose in 2017 and is expected to rise further in 2018, it remains relatively low, with a median spend of just £26 to £50 per year per employee, even at organisations with a wellbeing strategy in place.

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) continue to be the most popular wellbeing initiative, offered by more than nine in ten (93%) organisations and looking at long-term trends, the report shows that EAPs have also steadily increased in popularity over the past three years.

“It is encouraging that EAPs are so well established but we would urge employers to take this a step further and look at how their EAP can better support their mental health strategy. All too often EAPs are seen only as a counselling service for employees but this is just one part of the support and service that EAPs can offer. Many EAPs can play an important role in identifying the issues preventing an organisation from managing mental health effectively through risk assessments and stress audits. They can also provide mental health first aid training and coaching specifically designed to support line managers in managing mental health in the workplace,” said Neil Mountford, chair of the UK Employee Assistance Association.

A key issue uncovered by this latest research from REBA is that the wellbeing programmes are not being driven by the board. Less than one in ten (8%) say the board actively drives the organisation’s wellbeing agenda and one in twenty (5%) say their board has little or no interest in employee wellbeing.

“It is positive that employers are now talking more openly about mental health but concerning that so few strategies are being driven by the board. Fostering a culture of acceptance around mental health requires a long term cultural shift in attitudes and approach and in our experience, the most effective way to do this is to ensure it is openly championed by senior management so that it becomes embedded in the company’s values,” said Neil.

You can read more about the REBA wellbeing research here

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