Stress is now commonly referred to as “the health epidemic of the 21st century” and there is general acceptance that it is a major cause of workplace absence. It can lead to depression and mental health issues, and force employees out of the workplace. The cost of absence in the UK is now £18 Billion, that’s an average of £554 per employee!
According to new research from MetLife (‘Mental Health and Stress: Building Employee Resilience in the Fourth Industrial Revolution') more than a third of employers are aware of the levels of stress within their own workplace which is either personal or work-related. With one in four people experiencing mental health issues every year, it’s important that we reduce the stigma and start talking about mental health.
The upsurge of interest in the topic of mental health and wellbeing has led some employers into inaction, as many lack clarity on best practice to address these issues. Sir Kenneth Olisa, OBE, who wrote the foreword to the report, said having a three- to five-year objective is crucial. "The message of MetLife UK's report is clear - don't relegate stress management policies to the appendices of your employee handbook," he concluded. "Bring the topic to the front and encourage everyone to read it and to act upon it."
Many businesses are working towards building a robust framework to promote good mental health e.g. the introduction of Mental Health first aiders, providing training for line managers and enhancing communication to ensure employees are aware of the support available through Employee Assistance Programmes for example. However, it is clear that more needs to be done.
Employers shouldn’t be discouraged. Whilst some programmes come with a cost, many initiatives can be created and implemented that do not. For example, many employers are not fully maximising the mental health support services available through group risk products.
At Willis Insurance and Risk Management, our Employee Benefits and Employment Services divisions can help support businesses in developing their own wellbeing strategies, to tackle the issues which are of importance to your Business.
To find out more about Stress, Mental Health and Wellbeing programs contact Leanne Cahill at Willis Wealth Management