HR & Management

“Old stigmas about mental health are beginning to fade"

2 min read

14 January 2015

Over 25m people in the UK spend a large part of their lives at work. And with 91m working days a year being lost to mental ill-health, it stands to reason that employers would want to tackle the problem.

Work-related stress is said to be the biggest occupational health problem in the UK. In fact, nearly three in ten employees will have such a problem in any one year.

This fact hasn’t gone unnoticed by employers and a strategy to look after the wellbeing of their staff is but one of the many changes to be made in the modern workplace.

As it stands, 52 per cent of UK HR professionals now regularly engage with their staff to gain an insight into their mental wellbeing. These encouraging statistics were revealed by PMI Health Group’s latest study, which also suggested that that 78 per cent of HR staff will immediately find a way to talk to a member of staff if they suspect they might be suffering from mental health problems.

“The old stigmas about mental health are finally beginning to fade as employers realise that a sit back and wait approach to such issues is no longer an option,” said Mike Blake, director at PMI Health Group.

“Being proactive and making regular checks on employees’ emotional, as well as physical, health should be an important part of every employee wellbeing policy and can have a huge impact on how long the condition lasts.”

The research also revealed that HR professionals are making the most of the many tools that are now available to support employees with mental health issues.

It was found that 43 per cent direct employees towards a counselling helpline, 37 per cent refer them to an occupational health service, 27 per cent advise them to visit their GP and 21 per cent ask their colleagues to keep an eye on them.

But more can still be done!

The research states that 56 per cent of respondents claimed management in their company were not offered any training or advice on techniques designed to reduce workplace stress, such as adopting an accessible approach, engaging and empowering staff.

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