Improving mental health at work

Kate Newhouse

Categories: Wellbeing

With rising living costs and seemingly impossible house prices, static wage growth as well as unprecedented levels of debt from student loans, it’s no wonder that your employees have a lot to be stressed about.

Unsurprisingly, it’s younger employees who are reporting more stress and presenteeism in the workplace than any other cohort. According to a study by Bensinger Dupont & Associates (BDA), young employees are statistically more likely to report mental ill health at work (20%) compared to the Baby Boomer generation (16%) and Generation X-ers (16%).

With the stigma around mental health issues diminishing, and an improved understanding of the help, advice and treatment available for mental health problems, it has never been more important for employers to introduce mental wellbeing initiatives in the workplace.

Statistics from the Mental Health Foundation revealed that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions. The same report also found that UK workers who are absent at work due to mental health issues are seven times more likely to have further absences than those with physical health related issues.

The stress of having to wait for appointments, and having to ask for time off to accommodate can exacerbate any underlying or pre-existing mental health issues, thus affecting attendance and performance at work.

About 90% of all contacts with the NHS occur in general practice, and GPs are very often the first port of call in the NHS. With waiting times for appointments expected to rise to an average of 17 days in 2017, employers should consider providing access to virtual GP services as an employee benefit for fast and convenient access to a GP, irrespective of location.

Research of over 1,000 employees for Doctor Care Anywhere by YouGov showed that employees are risking their health by delaying or missing GP appointments. As a consequence, a third of employees have not attended a GP appointment for a year, while 37% say they have continued to work despite being unwell enough for it to affect the quality of their work.

This is a particularly urgent issue for younger employees. The survey also revealed that compared to other age groups, Millennials feel that they are under the most pressure at work to not take time off (36%), are the most likely to have missed an appointment in the past 12 months, and are the most likely (43%) to feel that they have made a health problem worse by cancelling a GP appointment and not getting help.

The peace of mind of knowing that GP appointments can be booked via an app, and that you can have a consultation within an hour or so, is hugely beneficial to younger employees in particular who do not expect to have to wait to access important services that they need. 

Take a look at how Universal Music used the Doctor Care Anywhere app to improve the overall health of their employees.

Want to know more about Doctor Care Anywhere? Have a peek at what they offer on the Benefex Marketplace

Kate Newhouse is the CEO of Doctor Care Anywhere

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