How can greater mental health awareness improve workplace resilience?
Figures show that 70 million working days are lost each year to mental health problems in the UK. While more forward-thinking businesses are taking steps to safeguard their people’s mental health, at Bupa, our new research highlights that misconceptions still exist around mental health conditions. 60% of people say they’re unable to identify key symptoms of the most common mental health conditions. This means as many as seven million employees are delaying getting treatment, as illnesses go unrecognised by both those affected and those around them. For example, bipolar disorder is the most misunderstood mental health condition at work, with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) all misunderstood by the majority of people.
Overall, these findings demonstrate the importance of businesses having a clear mental health policy and ensuring their employees know where to go for support, or how to help a colleague. Employers who invest in educating their workforce when it comes to mental health will reap the rewards, and a good place to start is creating an environment where people feel comfortable speaking about their mental health.
Earlier this year we launched Business Mental Health Advantage, as a standard feature in all of our health insurance policies for businesses. It’s the most extensive mental health cover in the UK and supports people with long-term mental health issues such as depression, bipolar and anxiety. It also includes conditions that are typically excluded by insurers, such as alcohol and drug abuse, and we cover for reoccurring conditions (up to the benefit limit), so employees can have peace of mind that they can seek help if their condition returns.
I’d encourage anyone with questions around mental ill-health to seek advice as soon as possible, and access the help that they need.