Addressing mental health day to day

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By Rebecca Reilly

10th October 2019

Addressing mental health day to day

Life events such as bereavements, relationship breakdowns and being diagnosed with a serious physical health problem are not things we think about often, especially if they are not currently being experienced.  We may never even consider them at all.

Unfortunately, despite this, it is likely that we will each experience at least one of these events in our lives.  It is also likely that our mental health will be affected, often unpredictably and in some cases dramatically, as a result.

Naturally, we tend to be more reactive than proactive when addressing these common life occurrences.

A recent GRiD research paper1 found that within the last 12 months, 64% of large organisations and 81% of SME’s have handled an employee who experienced a bereavement.  44% have experienced an employee who has been diagnosed with a serious health problem and 44% of companies are dealing with an employee with long term absence due to ill-health, a disability or an accident.

Given the prevalence of these serious employee issues, together with the strong associations with a worsening of mental health; it is imperative that a support package be available to employees.  This should ideally include:

  1. Ensuring that employees know what help is available to them should they need it and that this help is easy to get to.
  2. Encouraging employees to help each other. Fostering a culture of helping behaviours, as part of an overall wellbeing strategy, can positively impact on the breadth of support available within an organization.  Knowing how to help others will ultimately help us to help ourselves.
  3. Developing a consistent policy to apply to serious life events instead of dealing with these common occurrences on a case by case basis. This will ensure fairness and efficiency.
  4. Offering a free 24/7 helpline such as an EAP (employee assistance programme) which offers advice on issues such as bereavement, trauma, stress, work-related, relationships and financial worries. Hyperion (Psyon’s parent company) offers this free 24/7 helpline via the Health Assured service.
  5. Hosting mental health awareness events such as the “Let’s talk about the elephant in the room” session which Hyperion are hosting in conjunction with World Mental Health Awareness Day (Thursday 10th October). These events help to destigmatize and increase understanding not only for employees but for the business as a whole.

To find out more about building a wellbeing strategy for your clients, please contact Rebecca Reilly at Psyon:  Rebecca.reilly@psyon.co.uk

1 2019 Group Risk Benefits Survey