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Creating mentally healthy workplaces

The number of employees who have claimed for mental health treatment has doubled over the past decade, with mental health now estimated to cost employers up to £42bn a year and there are more than 70 million working days being lost per year because of related conditions.

The impact of this is that increasing numbers of employers are now implementing mental health strategies that seek to provide better support for their employees.

An important first step is creating a culture of acceptance and a workplace environment where employees feel able to have conversations about their mental health. Yet research from the CIPD has found that less than one in three organisations (32%) train line managers to support staff with poor mental health.

“Early detection and prevention are key,” explains IHC consultant and trainer, Bernice Price. “Our Mental Health Awareness Workshops provide training for managers, equipping them with the skills they need to recognise the early signs of mental ill health as well as advice and confidence coaching in how to have those difficult conversations.

“Another crucial element in addressing workplace mental health is ensuring managers have the knowledge and information they need to guide employees to the right support,” said Bernice. “Many employers have EAPs which provide access to a wide range of 24/7 support, but a lack of awareness and understanding around the services means they can be under-utilised.”

One reason is that some employers and HR departments are simply not aware of what services are available to them as the ‘added value benefits’ in their Group Risk and Medical Insurances. For example, many Group income protection policies and some cash plans now provide free access to a range of employee support services, such as an EAP, digital tools and wellbeing portals and an employee helpline for immediate support.

“It’s worth checking what services are already included and available in your existing polices and understanding how these can help support your wider workplace wellbeing strategy,” explains Bernice. “The next step is to make sure these services are actively promoted to staff to raise awareness and understanding of the support available and how to access it.”

With World Mental Health day taking place this week, it’s the perfect opportunity to review your mental health strategy. If you’re unsure of what is and isn’t covered by your existing policies, would like to know more about IHC’s Mental Health Awareness Workshop, or would like advice and support on how to promote these services most effectively, speak to your IHC consultant who can use their extensive knowledge and experience to ensure you have the best policies in place to support your employees’ wellbeing.

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    IHC Ltd, 1-2 Bolt Court, London, EC4A 3DQ.

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