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Creating a safety net for mental health issues among staff

Thursday, 25 November, 2021

Companies have a vested interest in protecting employees’ mental health and ignoring it can have moral, legal, reputational and economic consequences.

Disruption caused by the pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated mental health issues among employees. Creating or reassessing an existing strategy to support employees is now more essential than ever:

  • People are typically the number one asset and the biggest risk so looking after them is crucial

  • Getting the strategy right will drive better engagement and productivity – leading to a reduction in absence and better performance.

  • Getting this wrong could lead to legal issues as well as adverse economic outcomes for the business.

  • It is therefore of vital importance to have a practical and proactive strategy in the workplace.

Developing and adjusting such a strategy should be a team effort between the C-suite, senior managers, line managers, HR/people team, mental health service providers, risk managers, legal advisors and employee benefit advisers. Some of the best companies I’ve observed have one or more senior manager who have opened up and discussed their own mental health challenges and how they overcame them. This helps break down the stigma and barriers: Poor mental health does not affect a specific type of employee or job role and it is agnostic to its victims.

Recent years have seen an increasing trend of depression and anxiety with workload, lack of support, violence, threats or bullying and changes at work estimated to be the main causes of work related stress, depression or anxiety.