Half of UK employers don’t feel like they are dealing with mental health effectively

Published by Laura Matthews on

  • Mental health is a priority for 79% of organisations

  • Only 47% of organisations feel they deal effectively with mental health

  • Employers need to understand their employees and this needs to be driven by insights and data.

Launched today, Barnett Waddingham’s Wellbeing Agenda, reveals that whilst mental health now forms a big part of the conversation for wellbeing in the workplace, many are still navigating what it means for businesses and their employees.

79% of employers see addressing mental health within their organisations as a priority, however only half (47%) feel they deal effectively with the stigma around it.

"22% of organisations still don’t see mental health as a priority"

In 2017, mental health in the workplace was the number one challenge facing employers, however this year it finds itself a long way down the list of concerns, as greater awareness and acceptance has allowed employees to be more open and employers better equipped to support their people more effectively. Where organisations need to be careful is in not understanding the complexities and differences of different mental health strands. They need to take a more targeted approach rather than grouping them under the one umbrella.

Line managers are a particularly important piece of the puzzle with 47% of employers stating that training them is the top resource in place to address mental health. 33% offer counselling services, 30% have mental health first aid for their employees and 22% have implemented interactive or online training in the workplace.

Of the companies with a wellbeing strategy in place, 89% include mental health as part of it. This is ahead of wellbeing topics of the past such as, the use of occupational health and health and safety. This is reflective of a shift from reactive to proactive wellbeing management.

Laura Matthews, workplace wellbeing consultant at Barnett Waddingham, said: “The mental health landscape has changed so much it is almost unrecognisable. However, despite the positive themes running through these findings, 22% of organisations still don’t see mental health as a priority. For it to be taken more seriously, employers need to understand the impact it can have on a business – as well as the individual.

“Research from MIND suggests that 1 in 4 people* will experience mental health in any one year, which could be 25% of any workforce. If we don’t start to take it seriously, this may well damage an organisations reputation, profitability or eventually bring a business to its knees.

“Employers need to understand their employees and this needs to be driven by insights and data. Alongside equipping line managers with the right training and knowledge, resources such as the HSE Stress Risk Assessment gives a clear frame work to address stress or mental health.”