Mental health is a state of wellbeing that enables a person to cope with the normal stresses of life, be productive and contribute to the community. Good mental health is essential for functioning as an individual, an employee and as a member of society.
As an employer, it’s vital to encourage open discussion and support systems surrounding employees’ mental health to reduce stigma, increase awareness and ensure your team’s wellbeing.
The Cost of Mental Health
Mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression are routinely listed as top employee health concerns. They’re also leading causes of workplace absenteeism.
Even moderate symptoms of depression or anxiety can impact performance and productivity at work. Many employees agree that their mental and personal problems overlap into their professional lives and have a direct impact on workplace performance. It is in the employer’s best interest to address mental health as part of a wellbeing programme.
Most mental illnesses are highly treatable. However, untreated mental illness can increase the costs to employers in the form of increased absenteeism, work impairment and on-site injuries. Encouraging effective treatment and offering support resources can improve quality of life for all employees and reduce costs for employers.
Methods for Addressing Mental Health
Employers that support the treatment of mental illnesses will experience a wide variety of workplace benefits. These include improved employee engagement and wellbeing, higher product quality, better cost control, greater employee loyalty and an overall healthier workplace.
Employers can do more to promote integrated mental and physical health by cultivating supportive workplaces that encourage self-screening and connect employees to proper support resources.
Consider the following suggestions:
- Provide materials and messages about mental health, mental illnesses, suicide prevention, trauma and health promotion through brochures, fact sheets, payroll stuffers and online resources.
- Offer confidential screenings for illnesses such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Encourage the use of telephone helplines.
- Offer a variety of mental health presentations and trainings for all staff with an emphasis on prevention, treatment and recovery messages.
- Offer stress reduction presentations on topics like conflict resolution, managing multiple priorities, project planning, personal finance planning and parenting.
- Provide flexible scheduling for access to classes during or after work. Classes could include yoga, meditation, physical activity and self-help groups.
- Create and support a mental health-friendly work environment that accommodates employees who are returning to work after receiving mental health treatment. Allow schedule flexibility to accommodate treatments and appointments.
- Educate managers and supervisors in recognising mental health as a factor in performance issues. Address mental health issues specific to their needs.
- Create policies and practices that provide guidance to supervisors and managers on how to address performance issues. Provide mental health consultation and information, and improve their skills in supervising an employee with mental health issues.
- Review policies and practices concerning employee privacy and confidentiality, accommodation, return to work, and relevant UK regulations.
- Evaluate the workplace environment, organisation, and culture with a focus on reducing workplace stress, workload issues and performance reviews. Address employee concerns.
- Provide employee assistance coordinators to help obtain information about resources in the community.
- Provide and maintain comprehensive Private Medical Insurance (PMI), which includes mental health in employee benefits packages. Include screening, brief intervention and referral as a covered evidence-based benefit. Offer referral mechanisms to connect employees to mental health treatment services.
- Offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
Brunel Employee Benefits is a fully independent employee benefits broker with access to policies that are not available on the open market. Our team can review existing arrangements or provide options for a new range of benefits, including mental health-related ones such as EAPs and PMIs.
Our clients benefit from a full market review, competitive pricing and access to bespoke policies only available to Brunel Group clients. To discuss your benefits requirements with one of our specialists, get in touch on 0117 325 2224 or at email@example.com.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact a legal or insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2010-2012, 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.