Employees need mental health support from businesses all year round

mental health



According to a new report, 88 per cent of people with lived experience of mental health problems have been through times where they felt distressed in the workplace.

Almost 2 in 5 people with no history of mental health problems indicated they too had experienced similar emotions.  This highlights a clear need for employers to support their staff all year round.

The report identified that almost half of those surveyed who had experienced a mental health problem in the last five years have come to work whilst experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Of equal concern is that one in 20 of the managers surveyed who had not experienced a mental health problem had nevertheless gone to work while experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings.

With an estimated 8.6 million people aged 16+ in the UK affected by mental health problems, of which nearly 4.9 million of these were in work, Liz Walker, HR Director, at UNUM UK said: “Many employees don’t feel comfortable discussing mental health in the workplace, and employers often wait for awareness days like Blue Monday before openly discussing mental wellbeing. Line management plays a critical role in this by educating, supporting and communicating the support available for those who may be in need.”

“Employers should support mental health all year round, and communicate to their staff the care available via their employee benefits packages. At Unum, we work with companies to promote best practices – giving line managers the skills and knowledge they need to promote workplace wellbeing.”

Furthermore, Jenny Edwards, CBE, CEO Mental Health Foundation said: “Blue Monday is a bit of an exaggeration, let’s remember that any day might be a blue day for our staff.  Distress at work is not limited to those with diagnosed mental health problems. This is why businesses need to take a whole company approach to addressing mental health within the workplace.”