More than half (56%) of employees haven’t received any mental health support or training from their employer since Covid-19 hit, with many saying their mental wellbeing has deteriorated.
A survey by mental health organisation TalkOut identified an increase in feelings of anxiety among UK workers. Thirty-five per cent of the 1,500 staff polled said their mental health was now worse than before the virus arrived in the UK.
Mental health and Covid-19
Uncertainty about the future of their job was a worry for 51% of workers, while 68% said they felt anxious or apprehensive about a potential return to the workplace.
Overall, 85% said their mental wellbeing had not been among their employer’s priorities during the pandemic. This is perhaps evident in the fact that 31% said they were having fewer one-to-one discussions with their manager than before the pandemic.
When asked who they would talk to if they had a mental health concern, only 15% said they would approach to their organisation’s HR department. Seventeen per cent said they would not talk to anybody at all.
Jill Mead, CEO of TalkOut, said businesses still had a “long way to go” to provide effective mental health support for employees, despite the issue being on their agenda for some time.
“Unfortunately, whilst businesses were quick to adapt to social distancing and working from home, for many, the emotional wellbeing of employees was an afterthought. But the psychological strain of the crisis is impossible to ignore and whether staff have been working on the frontline, furloughed or working from home, it’s likely to have a long-term impact,” she said.
“It may seem like a daunting task but there are a number of immediate actions businesses can take to improve staff health and wellbeing. Regular communication to see how people are doing, creating safe spaces for people to talk openly, providing mental health training, and pinpointing employees to useful resources are all great starting points.
“A positive and supportive workplace can make all the difference when it comes to mental health and now more than ever, businesses have a duty of care to their workforce.”