Employee assistance calls for mental health issues rise by nearly a third

Calls made to employee assistance programmes (EAPs) by workers seeking help for a mental health issue have risen by almost a third in a year.

There was a 31% increase in the number of employees asking for advice for a mental health condition between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018, making it the leading health concern across the workforce, data from employee benefits provider Personal Group and assistance service Health Assured has revealed.

Mental health issues were behind 36% of all calls to EAPs in 2018, up from 23% in 2017, overtaking other traditional areas of concern for employees, such as stress, relationship problems or general health issues.

Personal Group also reported a 300% increase in the number of times wellbeing resources were accessed on its “Hapi” employee engagement app, compared with last year.

“Mental Health in the workplace is no longer a taboo subject and only by providing resources and open conversation can we truly start to provide the support our employees need,” said Mark Scanlon, chief executive at Personal Group.

“To effectively improve wellbeing, a strategy must be put in place which considers physical, emotional as well as financial wellbeing. If an employee is suffering in one area of their life it will often manifest itself in other areas.

“A truly all-inclusive health and wellness programme that acknowledges and supports employees at each point of what we like to call the ‘triangle of wellbeing’ [financial wellbeing, physical wellbeing and emotional wellbeing], is the only way to promote meaningful employee wellbeing.”

A recent survey by mental health charity Mind found that almost half of workers have experienced a mental health concern in their current role, with many too afraid to speak to their employer about it.

A separate study by the London School of Economics and Political Science discovered that only 52% of employees with depression had received help from their manager, despite the suggestion that those who are open about their concerns are more productive.

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