In January 2017, Theresa May invited Paul Farmer, the Chief Executive of Mind, and Denis Stevenson “to undertake an independent review into how employers can better support the mental health of all people currently in employment”.
The Stevenson Farmer Report identified some core standards for employers so that “The UK could and should be one of the leading nations in relation to mental health. If the UK prioritises mental health at work, we can become global leaders in reducing stigma, improving the mental health of the population and support for those who need it, and in the process improve the UK’s productivity.”
According to the Stevenson Farmer report the cost to
employers of mental ill-health is between
£33 – 42 billion every year, whilst the cost to government is estimated to be between £24 and 27 billion. In total the cost of poor mental health to the UK economy is somewhere between £74 – £99 billion every year.
April is Stress Awareness month and THSP are looking at ways we can advise our customers on how they can reduce some of this exorbitant cost in their workplaces.
Abigail Hirschman, a trained psychologist from ACAS recently explained that the seriousness of mental health in the workplace had been brought home to them by the number of employees contacting them for help. She and her team came up with a goal of developing positive wellbeing and productive workplaces, through three simple principles:
- Employers are visibly committed to positive mental health
- Managers are informed and open to conversations with their staff
- Employees are self-aware and ask for help when needed
All three levels have important roles to ensure that the goal is achieved.
There are many things employers can do to alleviate stress in their workplaces, reducing the incidence of poor mental health issues. These include providing staff (and managers) with a confidential telephone helpline that is available at any time to talk about their problems. This is known as an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
THSP has made a commitment to its customers by partnering with a leading provider of EAP services, Health Assured, to provide an EAP service. This programme has been tried and tested by our company for many years with great success.
All it takes is for managers to open a conversation. If they identify that people may be feeling pressured, or if the employee indicates they are struggling with something, that they give the person the time and privacy to call someone and talk about it. It could be they just need a simple conversation, or perhaps need counselling. Health Assured’s EAP gives up to six face-to-face counselling sessions per issue per year.
Life is tough these days, and choices are many. The day to day events of births, marriages, divorces and deaths, buying or moving home, financial worries, or child / elder care, all have huge impact on people and their relationships with others, adding stress to their already busy lives. Having someone on the end of a phone to help put some perspective on things, to guide people through their options and engender a sense of calm, is invaluable in reducing their stress levels.
Talk to one of our team about how an EAP could benefit you and your staff. For only £1 per person per month plus VAT, you’ll have invaluable support for you and your team. It also covers their spouse/partner and children living in their homes under the age of 24.
Whatever is causing stress in your workplace that could impact people’s mental health, it’s worth tackling it head-on before it’s too late. Be proactive – call us on 03456 122144 and we’ll help you to reduce absenteeism, keep staff focussed and reduce long terms effects of stress.
Consultant Director, Health and Safety