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Mental Health in the workplace - can you afford not to be aware?

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Posted by Wendy Melville on 21 May 2019

Mental Health in the workplace - can you afford not to be aware?

HR Ethics | HR Technology | Wellbeing

Mental health is all across the media, whether you have 10 people or 10,000 people in your company, encouraging an environment where employees can speak up in a trustworthy and safe place should be high on the boardroom agenda.

Analysis of Personal Group and Health Assured data reveals that the number of calls from male employees seeking mental health support has increased by 84% increase (May 2018 versus April 2019), compared to only a 6% increase in calls from female employees over the same period. This has also contributed to the increase in men accessing counselling services, meaning men account for 55% of all EAP counselling calls.

Whilst this could be seen as a negative indicator of worsening mental health amongst male employees in the UK, the increase in men seeking mental health support could also be viewed as a positive indicator of a shift in both the awareness and acknowledgement of male mental health struggles.

The risks to men’s overall health, mental and physical, are compounded further by their reluctance to seek help. Our analysis suggests having access to support in private, via Hapi, an online platform and app, has driven usage amongst mid-life, industrial sector male employees, tradition-ally a hard-to-reach group.


The Right Time

While typically women are more likely to access support via an EAP (usual usage is 63% fe-male,37% male usage ), male usage amongst Personal Groups clients’ employees sits at over 50%. Accessibility, whenever and wherever employees need it seems to be the key in driving this num-ber up; data shows that at weekends male staff were 25% more likely than female staff to access employee assistance services between 1am and 5am.

Over the past 12 months, Personal Group clients’ male employees made 21% more general help-line calls than female employees, and the volume of calls specifically about mental health received from male employees seeking help was 30% higher than the number of calls received from female employees.

This data reinforces the rising mental health issues faced by men in the UK. With calls from men about depression, low mood and anxiety (the top three counselling call categories) out-numbering the next nine counselling categories combined, the value of accessible mental health support for men cannot be underestimated.

Giving employees the chance to talk when and where they feel able to do so, will be a big motiva-tor to increase mental health awareness and offer the support and advice so desperately needed.


Using Tech to Talk

Technology is a key area where HR and business leaders can make a positive impact on the UK’s mental health by increasing employee access to confidential support, both while employees are at work and when they are at home.

Employers must make more effort to reach employees when and where they are most in need of help, often outside of the workplace, when they are alone, whether this be via the traditional phone support or via a mobile app. Mental health is undoubtedly on the increase within the workplace, but if companies are able to be aware, stay aware and offer the support services need-ed when its needed, employees do not have to suffer in silence.

It’s time to ask what more can you do?

 

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