Companies more proactive around mental wellbeing
Becky Frith, January 14, 2015
More than half (52%) of UK HR professionals now regularly engage with their staff to gain an insight into their mental wellbeing, research by PMI Health Group has revealed.
Around three-quarters (78%) said they hold an informal discussion with an employee if they suspect they might be suffering mental health problems. Only 7% said they would do nothing and wait to be approached by the employee.
When it comes to the tools available to support mental health issues, 43% of the 212 HR professionals surveyed said they direct employees towards a counselling helpline. A further 37% refer employees to an occupational health service, while 27% advise them to visit their GP. Some respondents reported using several of these tools in conjunction at their workplace.
However, 56% of respondents said management in their company were not offered any training or advice in techniques to reduce workplace stress. According to mental health charity Mind, as many as one in five workers take days off due to stress.
Mike Blake, compliance director at PMI Health Group, said that the old stigmas about mental health are finally beginning to fade.
"Being proactive and making regular checks on employees' emotional, as well as physical, health should be an important part of every wellbeing policy and can have a huge impact on how long the condition lasts," he said.
Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, told HR magazine that organisations are starting to take mental health more seriously. “What is vital is that this information is used to implement change. Consulting staff is the best way to identify where the company is performing well and where improvements need to be made.
“This isn’t just the morally responsible thing to do, but also makes good business sense. After all, employees who feel valued and engaged perform at their best, improving business performance,” she said.
“Wellbeing initiatives benefit the entire workforce, whether they are experiencing stress or a mental health problem; or not.”