Employers do not have skills to support mental health

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Addressing mental health is still a massive challenge for the vast majority of employers.

According to research from Health Assured 83% of bosses do not know how best to support employees with mental health issues.

The survey of 1,023 employers and managers found that 83% believed they did not have the skills or knowledge to identify when an employee was suffering from mental health issues.

However the research showed that this was not due to a lack of trying or through not wanting to help.

More than two thirds (67%) of businesses said that they had taken action in the last twelve months to implement employee wellbeing measures within their business.

Employers were also becoming more proactive by measuring employee wellbeing through employee surveys, reviewing stress levels, encouraging engagement with social events and undertaking one-to-one meetings to enquire about staff wellbeing.

But Health Assured called on employers to do more to educate themselves and their management on ensuring employees were happy at work.

David Price, managing director of Health Assured, said: "Employers must do more to identify areas of concern and engage better with employees.

"Work can have both a positive and sadly negative impact on our wellbeing - stress levels need to be managed, some employees suffer from feeling neglected and abandoned and more needs to be done about bullying and harassment. An unhealthy workplace can have a negative impact on productivity so it is important that employers take the issue seriously."

He added that the signs of mental illness could be easy to spot even to the untrained eye.

"Employers may not be trained to identify the signs of mental health; however the signs can be easily identified.

"You may notice unusual characteristics such as: the employee is quiet, or may not be interacting with their colleagues, or you may notice deterioration in productivity.

"Have an informal chat with the individual and see if you can offer assistance, and more importantly, someone to talk with.

"To build a culture where employees can trust their employer, you need to build a dialogue with employees, regularly speak with them, identify areas of concern and do something about it," he added.

Further Reading:

Unum launches workplace wellbeing 'MOT' tool

Businesses must 'take action' to improve workplace mental health support - Bupa

Bipolar sufferer becomes sixth Seven Families participant

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