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Employers need to recognise there is a world of difference in the level of intervention that people need for low mood and mild anxiety to that needed for severe depression and other mental illnesses, argues Christine Husbands. Using the leadership and expertise of occupational health can often help employers put in place the most appropriate solutions.
We all know there are a lot of employer-funded support services out there that offer mental health support. However, it is important for employers to recognise – and for occupational health to be communicating – that many do not cater for more complex and enduring mental health issues, such as severe depression, trauma and psychiatric disorders.
Many services are only limited to mild to moderate mental health issues, such as low mood and anxiety, for instance via apps and employee assistance programmes.
There is a world of difference in the support that people need for low mood and mild anxiety to that needed for severe depression and other mental illnesses, and very few services address the latter.
While it is great that companies are making support more accessible for mental wellbeing, we’d argue that it is vital that support is also put in place for more serious mental health conditions.
Supporting serious mental health conditions
Serious mental health conditions are not uncommon, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, self-harm, severe depression and psychosis. It is vital that people who experience these are catered for by effective support services.
As supporting mental health and wellbeing is at the top of corporate agendas, companies are keen to make help accessible, and that of course is laudable and to be encouraged.
But alongside this it is important that employ