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Debt, separation and bullying top mental health concerns

Employers were asked about the main issues around poor mental health of their employees

Money and debt was cited as employers' top concern around employee mental health, according to a survey included in Aon's The Contemporary Drivers of Mental Health report.

Of the 92 employers polled, 39 cited money and debt, 27 chose divorce and separation, and 26 picked bullying and harassment as the biggest issue.

Loneliness was also said to be a factor in poor employee mental health, with 22 employers highlighting this. Working while caring (17 employers), bereavement (16), technology (16), home/lone working (14) and the menopause (13) were also of concern.

The poll enabled employers to highlight other issues that may affect an individual's mental health. These were addiction, which eight employers noted as a problem, along with gender (7), sexuality (6) and race (4).

Aon's paper detailed how understanding and addressing concerns with a more comprehensive approach is required to help prevent issues occurring, detect problems early on, provide rapid interventions and support employees who have longer-term issues.

Charles Alberts, head of health management at Aon, said that because of the unpredictable nature of mental health there may be further issues not yet identified by employers. “There are many drivers of poor mental health both in and out of work and, because mental health has a dynamic nature, different levels of mental health at any given time," he said.

Some of these issues may be newly identified and therefore not yet fully considered by employers. Others may be taboo, exacerbating the original personal issue and creating a culture of silence that can be more difficult to tackle.”

Alberts added that organisations must create a culture in which everyone feels supported with their mental health: “Within any organisational demographic there will be thriving workers, struggling workers and those with mental illness, so interventions are needed such as designing a positive, open and supportive culture around mental health and mitigating any psychosocial risks in the workplace itself, as well as providing access to treatment and services and supporting recovery from mental illness.”