Posts Tagged ‘wellbeing’

New research from Aon shows debt, relationship breakup and bullying are the top employer concerns about employee mental health

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

New research from Aon shows debt, relationship breakup and bullying are the top employer concerns about employee mental health

Aon, the global professional services firm, polled employers online and during a recent seminar where Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind and co-author of the government’s Thriving at Work report presented his findings. Of the 92 employers surveyed, 39 stated that money and debt were their biggest concerns for employee mental health, 27 said divorce and separation, and 26 said bullying and harassment was the biggest issue.

Loneliness is also a factor in today’s workplaces, with 22 employers highlighting it as a factor. Working carers, bereavement, technology, home/lone working and the menopause are also of concern. The poll enabled employers to highlight other mental health issues. These were addiction, which eight employers noted as an issue, along with gender, sexuality and race.

Aon has also published a paper, The Contemporary Drivers of Mental Health, showing the issues that can contribute to or cause poor employee mental health. It details how understanding and addressing concerns with a broader, more comprehensive approach is required to help prevent issues from occurring, detecting any problems early on, providing rapid interventions and supporting employees who have longer-term issues.

Charles Alberts, head of health management at Aon and EAPA executive board member, said: “There are many drivers of poor mental health both in and out of work and because mental health has a dynamic nature, employees will have different levels of mental health at any given time. Some of these issues may be newly identified and therefore not yet fully considered by employers; others may be taboo, exacerbating the original personal issue and creating a culture of silence that can be more difficult to tackle.”

Beyond the effects of poor mental health on the individual, mental health is a significant issue for businesses. It can increase presenteeism and absence, negatively impact productivity, morale and engagement, amounting to an average cost per employee of between £1,205 and £1,560 per year, according to Deloitte. This cost is for all employees, not just those who are ill.

“It is not difficult to see why so many people may be impacted by poor mental health. Relate research, for instance, shows that 18% of relationships are in a distressed state at any one time1. Relationship failure is second only to bereavement as a cause of mental distress. Of concern, too, are the 1 in 9 people in the UK who currently combine work with caring responsibilities for elderly relatives. By 2040, when the 65 and over age bracket will account for 25% of the population, that 1 in 9 is projected to be 1 in 6, according to Eldercare. The issue is even more daunting for those tasked with caring for elderly parents alongside children – the so-called ‘sandwich generation’ of approximately 2.4 million people in the UK,” added Charles.

“Within any organisational demographic there will be thriving workers, struggling workers and those with mental illness, so interventions are needed such as designing a positive, open and supportive culture around mental health and mitigating any psychosocial risks in the workplace itself. EAPs can play an important role in supporting an organisation’s mental health strategy, both in terms of ensuring early detection of mental ill health, as well as providing access to treatment and services to support recovery,” he said.


Mental health affecting nine in 10 workers

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

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.

EAP mental health enquiries on the rise

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in News

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.”

70% of employers say EAPs are most valuable health and wellbeing benefit

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in mental health, News

70% of employers say EAPs are most valuable health and wellbeing benefit

New research by Hargreaves Lansdown reveals that 70% of employers believe that an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is the most valuable health and wellbeing benefit.

“This finding is certainly welcomed by the EAP industry and is supported by our own research, undertaken by the Work Foundation (2016), that more and more organisations (67%) are using EAPs as part of their health and wellbeing plans. Among HR professionals, EAPs are perceived as important in delivering a personal and professional source of support that, crucially, is independent from the workplace.

“However, although EAPs have become established as a reassuring support service that is operating in the background of an organisation, it’s important that, looking forward, EAP providers focus on the development of their role as a strategic partner for health and wellbeing that can deliver return on investment and contribute valuable intelligence to cultural and structural workplace issues that can reduce engagement, stress, sickness absence and promote wellbeing.

“The UK EAPA’s investment in additional research in partnership with the Institute for Employment Studies will further help the industry to understand more about the return on investment in EAPs which, we believe, will enable even more employers to regard EAPs as the most valuable health and wellbeing benefit,” commented Neil Mountford, chair of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

More information on the Hargreaves Lansdown study, which surveyed 349 UK employers, can be seen here.


Employees struggling to concentrate when wellbeing poor

Written by Vicky Mulchinock on . Posted in wellbeing

Employees struggling to concentrate when wellbeing poor

With news that one-third of senior HR professionals do not think their organisation considers employee wellbeing to be an essential part of good business strategy, the spotlight is once again on the importance of promoting and enhancing wellbeing in the workplace.

A study by charity, CABA, found that more than half of HR professionals (51%) see employees struggling to concentrate when wellbeing is poor, with a similar number (49%) noticing more sick days and taken and an increase in mental health issues (47%).

“For many years, EAPs have recognised the impact that non-work and personal issues can have on an individual’s general wellbeing, particularly their mental health in the workplace. By working in partnership with employers, EAPs can proactively help to promote positive mental health and wellbeing, providing an accessible and confidential channel of support for employees who are struggling with work related or personal issues that are affecting their performance or attendance.

“The CABA’s finding that HR professionals do not believe their company considers wellbeing to be a core part of good business strategy is concerning and should be a call to action for organisations to reflect on the benefits of a healthy, engaged, present and focused workforce. Clearly a number of organisations continue to believe that wellbeing is not their responsibility yet it is not a service that can be discharged to third party providers and instead is something that needs investment, focus and recognition for the benefit of employees as well as the wider business,” said Neil Mountford, chair of the UK Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

For more information on the CABA report, click here.


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