World Mental Health Day 10 October

It’s World Mental Health Day…but what does our annual Absence Management survey tell us about how employers are handling mental health problems in the workplace?

10th October marks World Mental Health Day, and whilst several charities are organising great events to raise awareness of issues surrounding mental health, I thought it’d also be a good chance to reflect on how mental health problems are handled in the workplace.

We spend a hefty portion of our time at work, but when we feel under excessive pressure from both our jobs and personal lives, how does this impact upon our well-being, our careers, and how do our employers support us?  Our annual Absence Management survey, in partnership with Simplyhealth, reveals the latest trends and will be published on the 14 October. But first, here’s some brief analysis of some of the figures and what employers are doing to help.

Employers tell us that mental health problems are on the rise. Overall, 42% of organisations we surveyed have seen an increase in reported mental health problems over the last 12 months, with the highest statistics emerging from the public sector (60%). The number of employers who say they’ve seen an increase in reported mental health problems has doubled since 2009 (2013: 42%; 2009: 21%), signalling the need for this to be at the forefront of employers’ agendas.

Mental ill health is usually caused by a combination of pressures at work and at home. Increasing worries about debt, rising bills and job insecurity, as the economy continues to remain depressed, may therefore lead to a further surge in mental ill health.

But what are employers currently doing to help their employees? The most common support provided for mental health problems are counselling services, flexible working opportunities, employee assistance programmes and a greater involvement of occupational health specialists.
It’s important for managers to look after their employees’ interests, by regularly assessing the demands their employees may be under from their work, and also taking into account any excessive stress they may be feeling from their home-life too. For people to perform well at work, they need to know that their managers care and trust in them enough to be comfortable to raise any issues.

Managers are ideally placed to spot early warning signs of problems and need to be adequately trained to have good quality conversations with employees who may be struggling; so that they can guide their staff to the support their organisation can offer them. Well-being and health promotion is important and some employers offer resilience training.

Previous CIPD research with MIND found that 1 in 4 people surveyed have experienced mental ill health. And with our latest statistics showing that two fifths of employers have seen an increase in reported mental health problems, this is an area that truly needs some more attention.

You can read the full CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence Management report on Monday 14 October. Tweet your thoughts to @CIPD or me at @MillerJillC

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  • Very well written. I think its so important to take care of your mental health at every stage of your life.

    I think it will make more sense if Managers can also get a basic training of primary Counselling skills such as Listening, empathizing etc.

    Or It also would help to take people on board who has got Psychology/ Counselling experience and wanting to pursue further carrier in HR.