Two-fifths of Unum's rehabilitation services were used for poor mental health in 2018
In light of government proposals to extend statutory sick pay to low-earning workers and improve flexibility around return to work support, Unum has revealed that more people used its rehabilitation support for mental health issues than any other condition in 2018.
According to Unum, more than 7,000 people used its range of return to work services last year and two-fifths (39%) did so due to mental health challenges such as stress and anxiety.
It paid out over £42m in group income protection (GIP) claims for periods of leave following episodes of poor mental health in 2018, with Unum finding that it was able to help an increasing number back to work - 74% in 2018 compared to 70% in 2017.
According to the group risk provider, 57% of all cases using its return to work support for mental health - with the biggest rise among men under 30.
The Mental Health Foundation recently found that over two thirds of men said they had been unable to cope with stress, while a third had experienced suicidal thoughts.
"Decreasing stigma around mental health problems and better understanding of the benefits of early support could be contributing to more employees using our services - particularly younger men - which is a positive development," said Dr Syed Zakir Abbas, chief medical officer at Unum. "Having access to early intervention resources for employees suffering mental ill-health can be key to supporting recovery."
Peter O'Donnell, CEO of Unum, added: "We believe employers have an important role to play in building healthy and inclusive work environments, where those with mental health concerns are fully supported. The emphasis Unum has placed on early intervention and identifying mental health issues in the workplace quickly is paying dividends, and our bespoke Mental Health Pathway is key to delivering this."
According to the government's Thriving at Work report, poor mental health costs the UK economy £99bn each year, with as many as one in seven (15%) people at work experiencing symptoms of an existing mental health condition.
Revealed at This Can Happen
At This Can Happen
'Turning it into a positive'
'Manage the gap'