mental health workplace wellness

Mental Health Wellness Key to Reducing Workplace Absences

As we head into the last week of Mental Health Awareness Month, more evidence of the role that mental health can play in workplace absences — one of the areas on which a well-run workplace wellness program will focus.

Workplace Insight reports that “Over a quarter of workplace absences are down to psychological conditions.” The post cites “new analysis from consultancy, the Clear Company, which also claims that mental health in the workplace as the second biggest challenge facing employers in the next five years, with respondents stating that over a quarter (26 percent) of workplace absences were down to psychological conditions.”

The post quotes Kate Headley, Director at the Clear Company, who said, “HR strategists should look at ways to foster a culture of openness which actively encourages staff to share their needs on an ongoing basis so that they can be fully supported.”

Another factor that contributes to the issue may be cultural.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reports that “Less than 10 per cent of employees feel comfortable disclosing mental health problems.”

The post states: “According to the findings of a new survey by Legal & General, 78 per cent of employers believe their staff are comfortable having mental health discussions at work.”

“The financial services company surveyed around 2,000 full-time employees and 200 managing directors or HR managers, from a range of different-sized companies. It found that only 4 per cent of those who had experienced depression, and 5 per cent of those who had experienced anxiety, felt they could speak to line managers or supervisors about it.”

“These figures fall far short of the 40 per cent of employees who reported having experienced depression. A further 22 per cent said they were dealing with anger issues and 25 per cent felt they were being put under unacceptably high levels of pressure at work.”

A well-run workplace wellness program can help manage and address mental health wellness and awareness, not only helping change a company’s culture, but also providing individual assistance.

Workplace Insight adds that Adrian Lewis from Activ Absence said: “Whilst employers can work on creating a more open culture where employees realise they will be supported and not judged if they disclose a mental illness, it’s also important to be proactive.  Not everyone will even recognise the symptoms in themselves.”