How to help look after the mental health of your employees

It’s just as important for employers to look after the mental health of their employees, as much as it is their physical health. But it’s often a subject most people don’t feel comfortable talking about. Given today is Blue Monday is even more reason for employers to tackle mental health issues. 

A recent report by the charity Business in the Community surveyed nearly 20,000 people and found that 49% of employees would not talk to their manager about a mental health issue. This is a surprising figure when you consider over three-quarters of employees (77%) said that they have experienced symptoms of poor mental health in their lives.

Employers can look at doing more to help employees, many of whom are reluctant to talk about mental health problems in the first place. Fortunately, many health cash plans now provide a wide range of benefits and preventative services that can help support the mental health of employees.

24/7 Counselling & support helplines

Employees and their families can talk confidentially to counsellors over the phone and receive professional advice on all kinds of issues from stress and debt to bereavement and family matters. This provides employees with quick access to a strong support network.

Employee assistance programmes (EAPs)

As well as 24/7 helplines, some EAPs go further and also offer face-to-face counselling sessions allowing employees to talk with professionals about their stress, worries and mental health problems.

Stress prevention programmes

This is offered as an extra feature or service in its own right, these programmes can provide occupational health helplines so employees suffering with stress can access professional support from day one of their absence. HR teams can receive advice with stress management, offering support to employees and helping them return to work sooner.

Relaxation therapies

Some health cash plans provide cashback on a range of massages and therapies that can help to ease stress. These include acupuncture, reflexology, cognitive behavioural therapy and much more.

Online portals

Employees can also access support in the comfort of their own homes. Online health portals can provide lifestyle advice, emotional support and online health assessments. While rewards portals can offer a wide range of exclusive discounts on holidays, gym membership, spa breaks and much more, allowing employees to relax and unwind without breaking the bank.

A stressful time

With the nights having drawn in, now is the time employers should think about the mental health of their employees and make sure they have preventative and support services in place. 29% of adults in the UK experience symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) during the winter months.

The festive season can also be a stressful time with the Samaritans charity receiving over 198,000 calls over Christmas 2015, mostly from men. Other employees can often experience the January blues when returning to work in the New Year.

Stress, worries and mental health issues can cause serious problems at work and tiredness can often lead to mistakes and accidents. In addition, employees can distance themselves from their colleagues, which can have a negative impact on team morale and performance. However, the benefits provided by health cash plans can empower employees to seek confidential advice and support when issues begin to arise.

Duty of care

All employers have a duty of care for the physical and mental health of their employees, which is why health cash plans now offer many more benefits than cashback on dental, optical and physiotherapy costs. So, isn’t it time you took a closer look at health cash plans and discovered how they could help you reduce absenteeism and look after the mental wellbeing and stress management of your employees?

This article was provided by Health Shield.  

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