Supporting your Employees Mental Health – Pandemic and Beyond
By The Eaves owner Bridget Walford
Work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounts for 44% of work-related ill health and 54% of working days lost, in 2018/19 (HSE, 2019). As well as sickness absence, poor mental health at work can lead to increased staff turnover, reduced engagement and high presenteeism. These facts relate to a world pre-COVID-19; early indications suggest that the pandemic (and measures taken by government to control it such as lockdown and social distancing) will have a significant impact upon the mental health of employees.*
How will COVID-19 affect our mental health?
We do not yet know exactly what the mental health impacts of COVID-19 will be. The mental health charity Mind have found that more than half of adults (60%) and over two thirds of young people (68%) said their mental health got worse during lockdown. MIND are calling this a Mental Heath Emergency.
It is suggested that these mental health implications will be felt for many months or even years. As early as two weeks into lockdown, employees were reporting a range of health effects including negative impacts on mental health and overall well-being.*
What should employers do?
It is well known that many employees do not feel comfortable in speaking up about poor mental health; this is unlikely to change following the pandemic.
Employers will need to adapt a range of measures to support employees experiencing poor mental health as a result of COVID-19 and its effects on society and the economy. Measures will need to range from supporting employees to regain an effective work-life balance and addressing fears about return to work, right through to support for severe mental health conditions.
Employers, particularly those who have employees working in front line response roles, should act now to put necessary support in place. Employers have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees. This includes mental health and well-being.
What employers can do now
Having an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) in place where your Employees can swiftly access local, highly qualified, counselling and psychology practitioners will show that you are taking your staff’s mental health seriously.
The Eaves Counselling and Psychology EAP is a low-cost, highly effective way of improving staff mental health and wellbeing.
We started our EAP this year from being approached by local SME’s, schools, colleges and universities looking for a reliable, established practice that could see their staff in our comfortable practices, on Zoom or via telephone at a time and date to suit their employees.
The Eaves Counselling and Psychology have 4 local practices in Surrey with 23 therapy rooms, available 12 hours a day. 6 days a week. New EAP clients will be assessed after referral by their employer and typically have their first session in a week or less. We report back on the efficacy of our service with bi-monthly confidential reports to the employer. Promotional materials and leaflets are provided to help you engage your staff.