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Employee Mental Health Issues – Study

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Aon in December 2018 released a paper, The Contemporary Drivers of Mental Health, detailing factors driving poor employee mental health in the UK.

Debt, separation and bullying are the personal issues of most concern to employers when it comes to employee mental health, according to a poll of employers. Of the 92 employers surveyed, 39 stated that money and debt were their biggest concerns for employee mental health, 27 said divorce and separation, and 26 said bullying and harassment was the biggest issue.

Loneliness is also a factor in today’s workplaces, with 22 employers highlighting it as a reason. Working carers (17 employers), bereavement (16), technology (16), home/lone working (14) and the menopause (13) are also of concern. The poll enabled employers to highlight other mental health issues. These were addiction, which eight employers noted as an issue, along with gender (7), sexuality (6) and race (4).

The report details how understanding and addressing concerns with a broader, more comprehensive approach is required to help prevent issues from occurring, detecting any problems early on, providing rapid interventions and supporting employees who have longer-term issues.

According to Charles Alberts, head of health management at Aon, “[…] because mental health has a dynamic nature, employees will have different levels of mental health at any given time. Some issues […] may be taboo, exacerbating the original personal issue and creating a culture of silence that can be more difficult to tackle.”

Mental health is a significant issue for businesses. It can increase presenteeism and absence, negatively impact productivity, morale and engagement. The average cost per employee has been estimated between GBP 1,205 and 1,560 per year, according to another study by Deloitte.

As to the fundamental drivers of poor mental health, Alberts remarks: “18% of relationships are in a distressed state at any one time. Relationship failure is second only to bereavement as a cause of mental distress. […] 1 in 9 people in the UK now combine work with caring responsibilities for elderly relatives. By 2040, it may be 1 in 6.”

The report can be downloaded here: The Contemporary Drivers of Mental Health (registration required).

Aon further highlights three other resources that may be of interest:

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