UK employers urged to act on mental health and stress-related illnesses

Oliver Gill
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Data on mental illness is one thing; but applying is a separate exercise, say experts (Source: Getty)

More the half of UK employers believe stress and mental health illnesses are escalating, according to research released today.

Some 55 per cent of companies think more employees are suffering from conditions, a survey by risk management firm Aon has revealed.

Read more: Staff suffering mental health issues feel managers are not supportive

“Mental health statistics continue to demand action from employers,” said Aon Employee Benefits principal Mark Witte.

We know that one in four working days are lost to the issue. This represents a third of long-term absence cases and now this latest headline figure from our own survey suggests a robust mental health strategy should be at the forefront of the HR and business agenda.

The survey also showed fewer employers think they can do something to help staff with mental health illnesses.

In 2015, nearly three-quarters of firms (72 per cent) felt they had a key role to playing helping people. In 2016 this proportion fell to two-thirds (67 per cent).

Witte added: “Designing an effective strategy can represent a daunting and complex task for some as there can be many underlying influences contributing to the overall picture.”

Flexible working and wellness programmes were the most popular ways businesses tackled mental illness and stress in the workplace.

Read more: Stress in the City: Half of UK workplaces report mental health problems

And although there is raft of data being collected by employers, Witte questioned whether it is being put to best use.

“Having a good understanding of health risks will enable employers to make informed decisions and take positive action that will have a real impact on future cost projections,” said Witte.

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