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Businesses urged to check in with staff wellbeing

Experts warn of ‘criminal’ lack of communication with staff over their wellbeing, and urge businesses to encourage openness and train line managers appropriately.]

A quarter of employees have had no wellbeing check-ins since the start of the pandemic, a survey has revealed, leading to calls from experts for employers to “catch up” to the mental health crisis.

In the poll of 2,000 workers by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, 25 per cent said their workplace had not checked in on their mental health since the crisis hit a year ago. Similarly, nearly a third (29 per cent) have never had a conversation with their line manager about their mental health.

Only a third (32 per cent) of employees said mental health and wellbeing support improved over the pandemic, compared to 43 per cent of respondents who said their support stayed the same or worsened. Two-fifths (41 per cent) said they had less frequent wellbeing check-ins or none at all.

 

In the UK, up to one in four adults and one in ten children will experience a mental health problem each year.

MHFA England has called on employers to increase support for employees, including encouraging regular wellbeing check-ins, facilitating activities to stay connected and ensuring managers have the training and resources to support staff.

Burnout and stress are costly, according to recent research from the Tufts Medical Centre, mental health needs and disorders are the single most expensive category of health costs for employers of all sizes and across all industries.

Mental health challenges can damage productivity, increase absenteeism and presenteeism, drive up turnover, and increase medical and disability costs for employers. In fact, it’s estimated that, pre-pandemic, over 550 million workdays annually were lost to employee stress.

 

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