It’s not news that the UK is experiencing a mental health crisis. 14% of employees experience mental health problems in the workplace attributing to an estimated 12.7% of absence days. However, as economic difficulties soar across the population, these figures are set to rise resulting in a cost upwards of £8 billion to businesses annually. After the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25% in the first year of the pandemic, (World Health Organisation) a rising number of employees say they are too ill to work and are turning to employers for support with both financial wellbeing and their mental health.
For several decades now, employers have invested into employee assistance programmes (EAPs) to provide short term support over the phone for any employees who are experiencing any personal problems. Employers set out with the hope that employees would be able to access support and find methods of coping before problems exacerbated. However, this year EAPs have reported receiving an escalated number of phones calls on complex and severe mental health problems. Emergency calls have now become a daily occurrence and employers are left with the responsibility of managing the increase. Whilst anyone experiencing a mental health crisis would be best accessing professional support via their GP, Stern-Gillett of Health Assured says some GPs are telling patients to contact their EAP provider if they have access to one because they’re “more likely to get some kind of support quicker than NHS pathways”.
There is no doubt that the equation of these difficulties leaves those in low-income jobs and deprived areas without support. In a recent study, Joseph Rowntree Foundation featured the link between poor mental health and deprivation: in 2021/22, more than twice as many patients were prescribed antidepressant drugs from practices in the most deprived areas in England than in the least deprived areas. Employers can also feel left in the dark on the most financially viable way of implementing an employee wellbeing strategy but leaving employees to cope on their own will only amplify more problems.
How well employers manage this situation is bound to have lasting effects on their business and the wellbeing of their team. Our friendly team of wellbeing specialists are passionate about supporting organisations across the UK to implement effective bespoke wellbeing strategies.
Our easy-to-use confidential app provides bespoke for each employee to suit their individual needs. We pride ourselves on providing support on each of the 6 pillars of wellbeing including. This includes financial wellbeing such as budgeting and debt workshops, as well as mindfulness exercises and nutritious recipes.
Optimise your workplace wellbeing this coming new year and drop us a message here to find out more about how we could support you and your organisation.