Few employees using mental health and wellbeing benefits

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Almost half (49%) of employers agree that poor mental health is the biggest health and wellbeing challenge they are facing, but few of their employees are making use of the initiatives they have in place to support their wellbeing.

This is according to research conducted by insurance company Towergate Health and Protection, which found a clear disconnect between what employers are doing to support staff mental wellbeing and employees’ awareness of such support initiatives.

Although three-quarters (76%) of firms offered access to an employee assistance programme, just 10% of HR professionals polled felt this was valued by their staff. Only 5% said their EAP was actually being used.

Fifteen per cent said communicating the health and wellbeing benefits on offer was an issue for their organisation. For the majority (90%) of firms, the HR team was responsible for communicating such initiatives to staff.

Brett Hill, distribution director for Towergate Health & Protection said: “If companies want their work in supporting mental wellbeing to really make a difference, i.e. for employees to be aware of that help, to understand what it entails, value it, use it, and get support when they need it, communication needs to take centre stage.

“The good news is, support in this task is available for employers. Providers and advisers are on hand to help, and we’d urge companies to make the most of that.”

Mental health training was also a popular benefit being offered by employers; 72% of firms said they had such training in place.

The survey was conducted among a relatively small sample of 39 organisations, but collectively these organisations employed more than 17,000 staff.

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