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Joy Reymond


Head of Rehabilitation Services

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More than a quarter of long-term absences related to mental health


Learn more ways to improve mental health in the workplace with The Ultimate Wellbeing Toolkit – a practical learning hub brought to you by financial protection specialists Unum, designed to equip HR professionals with the skills and knowledge to improve employee wellbeing. 

New figures released by Unum show that mental health issues accounted for 27% of Income Protection claims last year. This supports previous research which estimated one in four people now experience mental health problems at some point in their life, causing more than 70 million working days to be lost each year.

The data revealed that the most common mental health claim is reactive depression, with other conditions such as anxiety stress and bipolar disorder also leading to employees taking extended periods of time off work. As well as having a huge impact on individual employees, this poor mental health has severe repercussions for employers, including increased staff turnover, sickness absence due to debilitating depression, burnout and exhaustion, decreased motivation and lost productivity.

The data revealed that the most common mental health claim is reactive depression.

That’s why we have released a brand new training module to help HR professionals put mental health on the agenda. The free resource provides advice to help HR managers safeguard the mental health of staff, spot and address problems before they become too severe, and support staff when issues do emerge.

One of the biggest barriers to managing mental problems is the reluctance of staff to discuss these issues and while companies of all shapes and sizes increasingly understand the importance of good mental health, many simply don’t feel confident handling and communicating these issues in the workplace. That’s why our training module on mental health provides practical ways for HR managers to improve and build awareness of this important issue.

It’s also important to remember that a robust employee benefits package can financially support employees if they need time away from work, and can also be used to help prevent the problems from developing in the first place. Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) provide valuable counselling services to employees while Income Protection products provide staff with a replacement income of up to 80% if they are unable to work for long periods, as well as vocational rehabilitation services to help them to return to work when they are ready.

One of the biggest barriers to managing mental problems is the reluctance of staff to discuss these issues.

Employers need to take action on mental health now. The World Health Organisation predicts that depression will be the world’s most common illness by 2030. To tackle this and avoid the detrimental impact poor mental has on both employees and businesses, employers must take action to prevent mental health issues occurring, as well as providing support when they do. The reward for getting this right is a happier, healthier workforce, and a more successful, high-performing business.

Author Profile Picture
Joy Reymond

Head of Rehabilitation Services

Read more from Joy Reymond

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