On Sunday 10 October, it is World Mental Health Day, a topic we are committed to championing at Bupa.
There has been a significant step forward in the awareness and understanding of mental health in recent years, along with access to treatment and support.
The complexity of these conditions, and how everyone’s experience is so personal, means that while we are proud of how far we have come to offer support, there is still so much more for us to learn and do.
The focus of this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’. It’s a reminder that businesses, individuals and governments need to do more to reach more people and offer access to the help they need, when they need it.
What we know
Poor mental health can affect us all. It’s a sad fact that each year, a quarter of people in England experience a mental health problem. What’s more, recent global events from the pandemic to the climate crisis, have further impacted peoples’ mental wellbeing, so support for everyone is needed now more than ever.
Our research insights support this. Bupa’s Teen Minds study in December 2020 found that 4.1 million young people had experienced symptoms of poor mental health due to the pandemic. Consequently, half turned to harmful coping mechanisms such as controlling their food intake and self-harm.
Our Workplace Wellbeing Census in March 2021 found that a fifth of workers reported poor overall wellbeing during the pandemic, while Bupa Global’s Executive Wellbeing Index revealed that that 77% of business leaders experienced symptoms of poor mental health during the past 18 months.
How we’re responding
At Bupa, we are committed to reaching all those who need support with their mental health. We work with businesses to support their workforce, we want to help parents support their children’s mental health, and of course make sure our own people have access to support for their mental wellbeing.
In June 2019, we became the only health insurer to offer individual customers support and treatment for all long-term mental health issues, including all addictions. Setting us apart from other insurers, we also removed time limits on cover, meaning that recurring and long-term mental health conditions are covered. Through our UK Insurance business, we also provide Direct Access to mental health specialists, streamlining the process by removing the need for a GP referral.
Knowing the importance of young peoples’ mental health, we set up a dedicated Family Mental HealthLine, for parents and carers looking to support their children. This vital service is available to all our customers and is proving an invaluable lifeline of support.
Our Bupa Global business also extended its cover to include ongoing support for all mental health conditions, removing mental health waiting periods and lifetime limits. In addition, our new Private Client concept launched this year, providing a health concierge service that covers healthcare and preventative life care, including mental health and wellbeing therapies.
Our Healthy Minds service, run by Bupa Health Clinics, gives people 24/7 access to trained counsellors and mental health nurses, for support wherever and whenever they need it. Our latest feedback shows that 96% of users got the help that mattered to them.
Through our Bupa Foundation, in partnership with mental health charity, Mind, we have produced a free-to-access mental health hub for 11–25-year-olds, covering everything from dealing with COVID, to understanding legal rights. Since the hub launched in 2019, it’s been accessed more than 452,000 times, offering practical and clinically approved advice.
Our support also extends to non-Bupa customers, and we offer free, expert advice on dealing with issues from anxiety, loneliness, stress and depression, through the publicly available information on the Bupa Mental Health Hub.
And responding to the need for mental health support within businesses, our Workplace Wellbeing Hub also provides free information for business leaders, offering practical tools and training to help lead conversations around mental health.
Helping our people
To look after others, we know we need to look after ourselves. At Bupa, good mental health is championed by leaders and every person is encouraged to bring their whole selves to work. We remain committed to offering dedicated support to our own colleagues for their wellbeing.
As well as creating a working environment where people feel comfortable discussing their mental wellbeing, our Healthy Minds service is available for our colleagues, giving them 24/7 access to mental health nurses and counsellors. The feedback from colleagues has been overwhelmingly positive:
“Working in a care home can be the most rewarding job someone does, but it’s not without its challenges. Thankfully, Bupa’s longstanding mental health experience is a safety net that benefits more than just our colleagues. We know that when our people are at their best, they do their best for our residents.”
Rebecca Pearson, General Manager, Bupa Care Services
“Getting support from Healthy Minds meant I was able to leave a long-term, abusive relationship. They helped me get counselling and I was diagnosed with PTSD, at which point I was referred for cognitive behavioural therapy to help me stop blaming myself. My team at the dental practice has also been so supportive. The positive culture is engrained and has helped me change my life for the better.”
Rheanna, nurse, Bupa Dental Care
Awareness days are an important reminder that there’s always more to be done on mental health. We continue tackle the associated stigma and encourage people to access the help they need. Mental wellbeing will continue to be a huge priority for Bupa, where we are committed to supporting our customers, communities and our people to live longer, happier, healthier lives, and making a better world.