An estimated 23 million people experiencing poor mental wellbeing due to coronavirus pandemic
Research conducted by Benenden Health has shown that 35% of people are struggling with their mental wellbeing as a result of the pandemic, with many suggesting support from employers could help ease their stress levels.
Nearly one in five who are experiencing poor mental wellbeing said work is causing them the most stress in their daily lives, with 11% concerned about losing their job and 8% stressed by their workload. More than half of parents (58%) who said they were negatively impacted by the pandemic said having children at home is a contributing factor.
Worryingly, one in 10 (11%) said their employer has not been understanding of the requirements of working from home.
The survey of 2,455, including 1,002 parents in the UK, also found that 12% of the 35% negatively impacted emotionally had not been struggling with poor mental wellbeing prior to the crisis.
Benenden Health suggested more communication could help ease stresses amongst workers and help promote positive mental wellbeing - as more than a third of those surveyed (38%) said support from their employer would help with their poor mental wellbeing, and nearly a quarter of respondents said this would be improved if they knew their job was safe (22%).
Cheryl Lythgoe, head matron at Benenden Health, said: "Whilst it's not surprising to see the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had upon the mental health of the UK public, what is surprising is that businesses are missing the opportunity to take taking simple steps to help support their workforces and protect positive wellbeing at a time when many people are struggling.
"It's harder to identify issues when teams are working remotely, on furlough or social distancing, so taking the time to check in with team members, holding regular video calls and company updates, and keeping people informed will go a long way in promoting positive mental health. We also recommend encouraging staff to take regular screen breaks, get exercise within the government guidance, and promote a clear work-life balance to help reduce stress."
Mental Health at Work Commitment actions for employers
Business in the Community has outlined a factsheet that provides an overview of actions that, it said, would enable employers to support employees throughout COVID-19 and beyond. They include:
- Prioritise mental health in the workplace by developing and delivering a systematic programme of activity
- Proactively ensure job design and organisational culture drive positive mental health outcomes
- Promote an open culture on mental health
- Increase organisational confidence and capability
- Provide mental health tools and support
- Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting
To enhance employee benefits offering
‘COVID-19 secure’ steps
When lockdown measures do soften, employees will face another transition
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