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New Survey reveals UK Tech needs a mental health check

Today is Global Mental Health Day 2019, and some worrying new statistics from the The Harvey Nash Tech Survey show that half of UK employees working in tech are struggling with mental health.

Half of the UK’s tech professionals told researchers they had been concerned about their mental health due to work, either in the past or right now. This is equivalent to over 600,000 UK tech professionals[1] having had mental health concerns as a result of their work.

The Survey, which surveyed over 2,000 tech professionals, also found that 1 in 5 workers in IT Operations are currently concerned about their mental health.

While the survey found that companies are relatively supportive when it comes to mental health issues, with three-quarters (77%) having at least some kind of support in place, it also found that those companies who are ‘unsupportive’ have almost three times as many workers concerned about their mental health right now as ‘very supportive’ ones.

A similar trend emerged regarding how flexible an employer is on working arrangements: very inflexible businesses are three times more likely than highly flexible ones to have workers with mental health issues (31% versus 9%).

The causes of stress?

The single highest cause of stress is being short of staff. This has become a major issue as recently revealed by the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey which found that the UK’s tech industry is experiencing the highest skills shortage for more than a decade, with almost two thirds of CIOs (64%) reporting a shortfall of talent. It seems that the existing tech team are the ones being stretched to breaking point to make up for this.

Hours worked has a direct impact on stress levels, with the tipping point at over 50 hours a week. Tech professionals working these hours are twice as likely to be affected by stress to a great extent – and see their work suffer as a result – than those that work under 50 hours a week.

Tech professionals are most likely to be currently affected by mental health concerns if they:

  • Work 60+ hours per week – 21%
  • Work in IT operations– 20%
  • Work for a very small company (revenue <$1m) – 17%
  • Work in retail or leisure – 22%

Albert Ellis, CEO of Harvey Nash, said:

“No one would pretend that working in the tech sector is a walk in the park, but for it to be pushing over half its workers into a state of mental health concern is a real issue for the sector, and in particular, for those very small companies where a greater proportion of workers report that they are currently affected by stress.

 “While it’s understandable that tech leaders are focused on tackling the combined pressures of widespread skills shortages, Brexit planning, and the impact of automation on their business, they still need to look very closely at how they provide support to those members of the tech team that feel overwhelmed by their mounting work load and associated pressures. This is particularly relevant as our research clearly found that there is a strong connection between mental wellbeing and how supportive a company is.”

 

Michael Grant, President of BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT, said:

“These findings clearly underline that, as a sector, tech needs to do more about mental wellbeing. While tech firms continue to be a hotbed of creativity and dynamism, driving innovation and growth in the economy, there is also a flipside that the pace and pressure can take its toll on individuals sometimes. Whether a large corporate or a small start-up, the right support needs to be there. This is an area that BCS is already actively discussing and researching within the IT community, and we look forward to progressing thinking and best practice on this hugely important issue in the coming months.”

 

  • Impact of automation on jobs – Over one-third (34%) of tech professionals believe their job will be affected significantly by automation in the next decade, of whom 7% believe it is happening right now – especially in testing, infrastructure and operations.
  • Skills won’t last forever – Keeping up with new tech is a tough game and, as technology evolves, so do the skills required to be successful. In fact, three in ten tech professionals expect their current skills to be out of date within three years, rising to over six in ten in six years. Testers and Operations feel the most pressure to keep their skills up to date.
  • Work/life balance – A quarter of respondents left their last job because it didn’t provide them with an acceptable work/life balance, with finding the right work/life balance being the second most important factor when looking for a new job.
  • Where are the women – While organisations have implemented diversity and inclusion programmes, they seem to be making little difference to the gender balance, with women making up just 16% of tech teams in the UK.

Albert Ellis, concluded:

“Good work/life balance is key to retaining and attracting tech talent and keeping them well and happy. But our survey shows that the tech sector has further to go – and more still needs to be done to attract a wider range of people into the industry. Part of this is about showing the individual how a job will work with their own personal life, not just highlighting how amazing the job will be.

 “With so much set to change so quickly in the coming years, it’s vital that the tech sector makes itself resilient by looking after its people and giving them the support and flexible tools they need.”

[1] The UK government calculates there are 1.3 million jobs in technology in the UK (Source: ONS). With over half of the UK’s tech professionals having been concerned about their mental health due to work, either in the past or right now, this is equivalent to over 600,000 of the UK’s tech workforce.

On World Mental Health Day employers urged to take ‘40 seconds of action’ to support workers with mental health

To mark World Mental Health Day[i] on 10th October, an awareness day organised by the World Health Organization (WHO), Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing is encouraging employers to get behind this year’s campaign message and take “40 seconds of action” to show support for people with mental health issues.

The theme this year is suicide prevention. According to WHO, every 40 seconds someone around the world loses their life to suicide.  WHO is calling for “40 seconds of action”, to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that everyone, including employers, can play to help prevent it.

One suggestion for employers is to take 40 seconds to create a positive message of support to employees about the resources available in the workplace or in the local community to support mental wellbeing.

Kim Horsfall, Senior Consultant at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing says,

“Employers have an important part to play in  the conversation around mental health.  Rising numbers of people are suffering from stress, depression and anxiety, which can escalate if not addressed and lead people to consider suicide.

“We all spend a large part of our lives at work and employers are increasingly recognising they have a role to play in offering better support around mental health. But there is much more that can be done, such as encouraging more openness to help break the stigma that still exists around mental illness in the workplace.”

A 2017 report from Deloitte[ii] on workplace mental health and wellbeing highlighted that in any one year, one in six workers is likely to be suffering from a mental health condition. With over 31 million people in work in the UK, this is equivalent to over five million workers who could be suffering from a mental health condition each year.

However, another survey this year by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England and Bauer Media UK[iii], found that only one-third of workers felt confident talking to colleagues about common mental health struggles such as stress and depression.

Kim Horsfall adds,

“We urge employers on World Mental Health Day to spend 40 seconds doing something such as encouraging all employees to ask a colleague how they are feeling that day. A simple action like this could have a wide reaching and positive impact on employees and spark further conversations around mental health. 

“Employers could also consider other measures to support mental wellbeing, such as access to counselling services, mental health first aiders and employee assistance programmes (EAPs), as part of their wider health and wellbeing strategy.

“There are also tools available that can support employees every day.  Apps such as our recently launched and NHS-approved Havensrock Thrive offer a cost-effective solution for employers who want to offer staff a practical, discrete app to monitor their mental health daily.

“This app empowers employees to take responsibility for their own mental health and gives them access to tailored support and the ability to speak to a dedicated mental health nurser  if needed. This is one way employers can ensure help is available every day of the year 24/7 and employees have access to support at a time they may need it most.”

To find out more visit https://www.havensrock.com/thrive/

On World Mental Health Day employers urged to consider the financial wellbeing of employees

To mark World Mental Health Day[i] on 10th October, an awareness day organised by the World Health Organization (WHO), Punter Southall Aspire highlights that focusing on the financial wellbeing of employees is a key part of any effective employee health and wellbeing strategy.

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention. According to the charity Mental Health UK[ii], one in six people who have had money problems have experienced suicidal thoughts as a result.

Another charity, Money and Mental Health,[iii] says that over 1.5 million people in England are experiencing both debt problems and mental health problems. Its research also found that 86% of people with mental health problems said their financial situation had made their mental health problems worse.

Johanna Nelson, Associate Director, Punter Southall Aspire said,

“Financial worries can have a huge impact on people’s mental wellbeing, and employers are in a unique position to help their employees combat financial issues through effective financial wellbeing strategies.”

For employers considering where to start, Johanna says,

“Too often financial wellbeing strategies start from ‘good sounding’ business ROIs – like improving presenteeism at work, increasing productivity, mitigating absenteeism, and maximising employee benefit utilisation. However, a people-led focus that seeks to be fair, inclusive, safe and supportive is a really good place to start when developing a financial wellbeing strategy.”

Here Johanna outlines how these themes can help drive a financial wellbeing strategy:

  1. A fair financial wellbeing strategy is impartial, open-minded and non-judgmental. It doesn’t make presumptions about how different types of employees’ financial affairs “should be”. It therefore starts from a position of listening to employees (in order to identify employee needs), and then evolves through continued listening and identification of new financial pain-points to resolve.  

 

  1. An inclusive financial wellbeing strategy is proactively accessible and relevant to all employees. It embeds targeted communications; knowing a ‘one size fits all’ approach will never result in improved financial wellbeing for all employees.
  1. A safe financial wellbeing strategy fundamentally believes in assisting all employees secure financial safety because it appreciates the severity of money issues. It sees financial wellbeing as a basic human right, remunerates fairly and puts the necessary education and support systems in place to assist all employees in securing their own financial safety.
  1. A supportive financial wellbeing strategy sees financial wellbeing as an everyday employee need. It doesn’t take a once and done approach but has an ‘open door’ policy throughout the year. It’s part of the culture and supported by leadership.

To find out how Punter Southall Aspire can help employers develop a financial wellbeing strategy visit: www.psaspire.com

Understanding the root causes of absenteeism can help employers tackle mental health in the workplace

In the run up to World Mental Health Day[i] on 10th October, Adrian Lewis, Director, at Activ Absence says there is a lot employers can do to help break the taboo of mental health, including having systems in place so they can uncover the reasons behind employee absence.

A recent survey[ii] conducted by Censuswide and Slater and Gordon found that in 2019 workers took on average 3.75 days off for mental health reasons including stress, exhaustion and depression because they were overwhelmed.

However, of those who took mental health days, 55 per cent told their employer they were physically ill, with less than a third (32 per cent) admitting that the reasons were to do with mental health.

Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of respondents who weren’t honest with their boss said they either did not think they would be understood or be supported, while 30 per cent said they were embarrassed to tell the truth, and 27 per cent said they did not want their colleagues to know.

Adrian Lewis, Director at Activ Absence says,

“Despite more awareness around mental health, it seems that many people still don’t feel comfortable admitting to their boss or colleagues that they are suffering from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and stress.

“Employers have a duty of care to look after both the mental and physical wellbeing of their staff, but with mental health they often don’t know where to start. One solution is to invest in absence management technology, which can help managers uncover the real reasons someone has been off sick.

“Absence management software enables managers to track short and long-term absences, and prompts return to work interviews. Managers can clearly see if someone has been taking a lot of time off or recurring patterns, such as someone regularly off on a Monday which may indicate stress or worry.

“This insight is invaluable and can enable line managers to sit down with someone and privately discuss what may be causing them to be absent from work frequently. If it appears someone is suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, then managers can step in and help by either directing them to relevant support services or addressing things like heavy workloads and other pressures, which could be contributing to the issue.

“Employers can also try to do more to create more openness around mental health. Sending an email on World Mental Health Day to your team, letting them know about the awareness day and encouraging them to ask a colleague how they are that day, is one simple action that could be done on 10th October.

“However it’s something that employers need to be doing more of throughout the year to really start to see a difference. Starting conversations around mental health and getting to the root causes of absenteeism is a good place to start to break down the stigma of mental health issues and encourage a more open culture,” adds Mr Lewis.

One organisation that has been using absence management software since March 2019 is Widcombe Surgery, a GP practice in Bath with six GP partners.  The surgery has benefitted from the return to work interviews that are an integral part of the software.

Practice Manager Elaine Smith says,

“The software prompts me to have a conversation with a member of staff who has been off sick and provides the right questions to guide the conversation. It’s really useful for managers who may be worried about asking difficult questions and can help them identify when someone may be struggling.

“For example, someone may have returned to work from bereavement leave before they are ready but by asking questions tailored to identify any issues, the interview should highlight that they are not coping. This means their manager can then suggest solutions to help them manage better such as taking an extra day off or working a shorter week in the short term.”

For more information visit: www.activabsence.co.uk

Insurers and employers can help reduce the number of suicide attempts, says RedArc (ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 October)

The World Federation for Mental Health has declared ‘suicide prevention’ as this year’s theme for World Mental Health Day (10 October) and with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) recording 6,507 suicides in the UK last year – or more than 17 per day – the need for more action is clear.

However, overlooked in these figures is the number of suicide attempts and it is here that RedArc believes insurers and employers may be compelled to take more action. Whilst it is difficult to accurately collate figures, The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that for every suicide, there are more than twenty suicide attempts, which means there could have been as many as 130,000 attempted suicides in the UK during the first half of 2019.

Alison Simmons, senior mental health nurse adviser at RedArc Nurses says: “The phrase ‘every death by suicide is a death too many’ is frequently quoted but the attempted suicide figures show that this is a problem on a scale far greater than the headline fatality statistics convey. Every attempted suicide is a tragedy in itself.”

Those that have attempted suicide can be at higher risk of re-attempting, however, evidence shows that providing support by way of intervention and contact significantly reduces the likelihood of death by suicide, so providing professional support to those at risk of suicide cannot be underestimated.

Both insurers and employers have the ability to make an incredible and tangible difference to those individuals who battle with serious mental health issues:

  • More insurers could include added-value services within their policies, such as access to specialist help to ensure that their customers can get early intervention support when it is needed.
  • Employers can do more to help too, either by ensuring the group insurance provider they select makes access available to mental health support before or without the need for a financial claim; or by offering direct access to help.

Alison Simmons continued: “Some insurers and employers already have the capacity and tools to support customers and staff who have serious mental health issues, but they don’t always make it clear about how to get that help and what specifically is included. Regular communication is required to reiterate information to ensure the message reaches those who most need it.

“Added value is the term widely used for this type of service but what we’re actually talking about is life-saving early intervention if we can catch someone before they reach crisis point.

“Suicide is one of the last taboos in discussing mental health, and it would be a meaningful step if even more insurers included good quality support for mental health in their policies as standard. This mustn’t be a tick-box exercise, support needs to incorporate access to specialist mental health advisers. Likewise, it’s important that employers really understand what support they have available and to offer it to employees.

“We believe access to specialist help and better communication will lead to a greater take up, and our industry would play a significant role in reducing the number of individuals who feel they have no choice other than to take their own life.”

One third of employees need prescription safety eyewear

A new survey from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare has shown that there is a real need for prescription safety eyewear. In a survey* of over 500 UK companies it has been revealed that, on average, a third (33.6%) of employees who require safety eyewear have a prescription requirement.

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare said: ‘The need for prescription safety eyewear is far more significant than many may have thought. This has major implications for the use of over-goggles in the workplace.’

Some employers choose to provide over-goggles to people who wear prescription glasses, rather than offer prescription safety eyewear. However, wearing two sets of lenses can cause reflections, which can impact clear vision, as well as being uncomfortable. This means over-goggles are far from the ideal solution for employees who need safety eyewear and have prescription requirements.

Jim Lythgow continued: ‘Over-goggles are an old-fashioned solution. It is understandable that an employer with one or two people with an occasional requirement might opt for just providing over-goggles. But with one third of employees who need safety eyewear having a prescription requirement, prescription safety eyewear is really the sensible answer.’

Some employers may not provide prescription safety eyewear if they don’t know it’s available. However, it is perhaps easier to provide than employers may realise. Employees can obtain safety glasses tailor-made to their prescription at their local optical store, just as they would for glasses for DSE use, or prescription sunglasses. The designs have come a long way in recent years, including wraparound-style glasses, with plastic or metal frames, and a selection of lens types and treatments. Brand-name designs are also available making the options far more trendy and sporty-looking, increasing the incentive to wear them. They can be obtained using eVouchers in the same way DSE requirements can be met for screen users.

For more information on prescription safety eyewear, visit: www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate/safety-eyewear

Help is available for employers to support employees experiencing stress and anxiety

Staff can experience stress and anxiety about many areas including their work, health, financial and legal situation. Worries can be more pronounced and vary depending on their geographical location and industry sector. This can affect both home life and work life, and employers may feel there is nothing they can do to help.

Indeed, providers of employee assistance programmes (EAPs) have reported an increase in calls for anxiety and work-related stress this year, and some see a spike in calls following Brexit-related announcements. GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness) is calling on employers to utilise the EAP benefit that is often offered alongside many group risk products.

EAPs can be a great source of help, can often be accessed 24/7, and are a great first port of call for employees struggling with uncertainty. Professionally qualified counsellors and advisers can offer support across the board from anxiety to flooding advice. Online portals can be a further resource for employees to access support in a way that suits them.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: ‘Employers are sometimes expected to have all the answers, which of course they don’t, and so EAPs can also be a great support for them too. Group risk is no longer about just offering financial protection, it offers so much more, and those employers that utilise an embedded EAP are able to offer a tangible benefit to staff that can make a real difference.’

All can benefit

Whether or not an employee is covered under a company’s group risk policy, an EAP is often offered to all staff, ie even if a group protection product is only offered to a particular group of staff, all employees can often still benefit from the embedded EAP.

Moxham continued: ‘The great news is that many group risk products come with an EAP at no extra cost, so providing such support doesn’t have to have any extra financial implications for an employer. We are urging those employers that already offer group risk products to talk to their advisers or check their policies to see just what is included. And for those that don’t offer group risk protection products to staff, if they’re looking to support mental wellbeing in the workplace, this is a good place to start.’

How employers can use EAPs that are offered alongside group risk to support staff through stress and anxiety

  • Not all EAPs are the same, look at what’s included. Specific benefits may be of particular value to employees right now, such as face-to-face counselling or help with family issues.
  • Let employees know that an EAP is available. Knowing that employers take their staff’s worries seriously and want to help can go a long way in helping them feel supported.
  • Ensure staff are aware of how to access their EAP by widely promoting telephone numbers, email addresses, websites and portals.
  • Encourage staff to utilise the EAP by letting them know that all calls are confidential.

Aon recommends seven key ways for employers to support employee mental health for financial wellbeing

Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions (NYSE: AON), has developed a guide: How to support financial wellbeing: Seven secrets to success’,showing seven ways employers can support employee mental health with financial wellbeing. The guide has been developed by experts after the Aon Benefits and Trends 2019 survey found that support for mental health was one of the top five changes in employee expectations. The findings included that 79% of respondents said employees expected better awareness around mental health issues, that 54% said they wanted access to financial education, and that 62.5% of employers believe that it is their responsibility to support staff with financial wellbeing.

Other research has shown that 46% of people in problem debt also have a mental health problem1, while 22% of employees have said their financial situation causes them stress and negatively impacts their productivity2. On top of this, those struggling with mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders are also more likely to be struggling with debt and other financial problems. This was shown by analysis from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute which looked at data from a recent Adult Psychiatry Survey of 7,500 people across England which found that 1.5 million people with mental health disorders also have debt problems.

Charles Alberts, head of health management at Aon, said:

“The combined research provides valuable insight into the two-directional relationship between mental health and finances, while setting the case for a more holistic approach to employee health and wellbeing. Employers should consider taking a sustained and whole person view if wellbeing interventions are to have a genuine impact.

“The impact of changing trends and new expectations shouldn’t be underestimated. Employers need to evolve their approach to mental health support in order to keep pace with their employees. It’s fast becoming a must have, especially with the next generation of workers entering the workplace.”

Aon’s guide breaks down steps for employers, highlighting that financial wellbeing does not need to be complicated for employers and that pinpointing problem areas within a workforce is important in order that employers can focus on the best resolution.

The guide, How to support financial wellbeing: Seven secrets to success’ includes steps including reviewing how financial wellbeing sits alongside an overall wellbeing strategy, using data to audit the existing approach, setting goals, investigating technology, using a framework to plan a strategy and roll-out approach, communicating, engaging champions and reviewing support.

Martin Parish, a financial wellbeing expert at Aon, said:

“Financial wellbeing is a key component of an individual’s overall wellbeing, which also includes physical, mental and social wellbeing. It goes beyond just having enough money in the bank – it includes good financial management and having the appropriate tools to facilitate financial decisions. It’s the peace of mind that comes with knowing there is enough money for both present and future financial commitments.

“As one of the core wellbeing pillars, employee financial wellbeing is a growing concern for businesses. Financial Conduct Authority figures show that 67% of employees are currently struggling financially3, which can have a detrimental impact on both their own health and business performance. It’s no wonder so many employers want to support their employees.”

1Money and Mental Health Policy Institute: https://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/money-and-mental-health-facts/

2https://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/money-worries-in-the-workplace/ 

3https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/research/fawg-financial-well-being-workplace.pdf  

Employees stay silent over mental ill health reveals research from XpertHR this World Mental Health Day

In the run up to World Mental Health Day employment experts XpertHR highlight the results of their recent study which revealed people remain reluctant to admit to mental ill health even when it forces them to take time off work.

The survey of more than 300 organisations found that nine out of ten (88.1%) believed that some employees had taken sickness absence due to mental ill health in the previous 12 months. But overwhelmingly (78.5%), they also reported that employees had not always disclosed the real reason for their absence.

This stigma around the issue in many workplaces means that employers miss opportunities to intervene early in order to minimise the amount of time lost to sickness absence, as well as the potential severity of the episode.

The survey of 303 organisations, together employing more than half a million people, found that just one in five (21.1%) has a formal mental health policy or strategy in place, with most (47.9%) running mental health wellbeing initiatives on an ad hoc basis.

And although line managers have an important part to play, often being expected to assume responsibility for managing employees experiencing mental ill health, few get the training they need to do the job well.

Just one respondent in seven (14.9%) rates line managers as very effective in managing employees with mental ill health. And just one organisation in five (22.1%) ensures that training in mental health first aid is offered to line managers.

Despite this, there are indications that employers are increasingly willing to tackle the issue. Three in 10 (29.7%) of those surveyed have appointed mental health first-aiders who are trained to recognise the signs of mental ill health and provide initial stages of support. A further one in three (35%) has training planned in the next 12 months.

XpertHR senior HR practice editor Noelle Murphy said:

“Mental health is undoubtedly higher up the HR agenda than at any other time. However, much more work needs to be done to ensure organisations have a culture that encourages timely disclosure of mental ill health – this in turn allows for early intervention, that may minimise the length, severity and impact of a mental ill health episode. This is the development of skills and competence among line managers, and resources need to be found to do just this.”

Mental health warning signs employers need to look out for

With the cost of poor mental health in the workplace ranging between £33-42bn each year,* businesses need to get better at spotting and supporting mental wellbeing concerns. Indicators of poor mental health can be physical, psychological or behavioural and so a starting point is to understand some of the most common warning signs of poor mental health, explains Towergate Health & Protection

  1. Changes to ‘normal’ behaviour

Considering a significant proportion of our lives are spent at work – changes in behaviour can be spotted by colleagues and managers as so much time is spent with staff. Changes in normal behaviour, such as being quick to anger** when an employee is usually more measured, can be an indicator that their mental health is compromised. As humans we experience a complex variety of emotions regularly, but if out-of-character behavioural patterns become more frequent or problematic it could be a sign that support may be required.

  1. Increased dependence on stimulants

Whether taken at work or in their personal lives, many employees engage in the consumption of stimulants – be it caffeine, alcohol or nicotine, for example. But using stimulants to the extreme, where it affects work, can raise alarm bells regarding employee mental health. Over-reliance on stimulants, as a method of escapism for example, can be covering a multitude of mental wellbeing concerns. Caffeine could be masking sleeplessness, alcohol erasing painful memories, or nicotine calming feelings of anxiety. Employers can look out for signs that usage of a stimulant is problematic and signpost employees to appropriate support.

  1. Airing personal concerns

Employees are all different when it comes to sharing details of their personal lives in the workplace, some will wear their heart on their sleeve, whilst others prefer to keep details of their personal lives to a bare minimum. The crucial factor here is to learn how to listen properly. Personal stories can reveal that an employee has lost their appetite, that their sleep is suffering, or they no longer enjoy previously relished activities – all of which can provide indicators as to the state of someone’s mental health. Employers can then be in a position to decide if they deem it necessary to signpost them to support.

  1. Productivity suffering

Employees may find themselves suddenly incapable of dealing with previously manageable tasks. Delegating activity to others or showing indecisiveness can be signs that an employee is struggling with their mental health. An employee may seem distant in meetings, be unable to concentrate or lack motivation where they’d previously been enthusiastic. Anxiety *** disorders can be crippling for employees – making the day-to-day suddenly feel overwhelming. Early diagnosis and appropriate support, instigated by employers, can help staff manage challenging situations more effectively.

  1. Physical indicators

A common misconception is that just because a mental health issue is psychological, it does not manifest physically. However, trembling, chest pain and sweating are just some of the physical symptoms that can indicate a mental health issue.**** In the workplace some of these physiological indicators of compromised mental health can be more apparent. Without jumping to conclusions, employers can note these physiological indicators and decide whether intervention is appropriate.

 

David Prosser, head of proposition development at Towergate Health & Protection, comments:

“In the workplace, line managers and colleagues are in a unique position to see how individuals operate daily, and spot any changes in behaviour that may indicate a mental health concern. The trouble is that people can get so swept up in the daily demands of their role, that they don’t have time, or forget to look out for common signs that someone is struggling.

“There’s a lot of support that businesses can offer, from mental health first aid training which enables staff to spot the signs of poor mental health and signpost colleagues to support – through to offering direct access to an employee assistance programme. So rather than observing employees at a moment in time – when organisations remember to keep an eye out for mental health in the workplace – it’s important that support is an ongoing and organic process where it is constantly monitored, and help is offered if needed.”

* https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/public-sector/articles/mental-health-employers-review.html

** https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anger/for-friends-and-family/?o=10280#.XQEBM4hKhPY

*** https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/how-to-spot-if-youre-suffering-from-mental-health-issues/

**** https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/mental-health-at-work-1_tcm18-10567.pdf