Mental ill-health - How mental ill-health hits employees’ pockets
There’s another, very tangible dimension to the problem of mental health stigma that often goes unnoticed: the financial burden it can impose on employees.
Recent research suggests that employees who experience mental ill-health earn up to 42 per cent less than their colleagues – with male employees hit hardest. The study found that for every pound earned by a male without any mental health issues, a colleague who had phobias or panic attacks earned just 58 pence.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission, who commissioned the research, was scathing about the ‘hidden disgrace of British society’s pay gap’, calling on business and government to work together to end discrimination and stigma. We’ve spent many years supporting businesses to do just that and we echo their call.
Mental ill-health - What more can your business do?
Don’t wait for change to happen – be part of the change yourself. Here are a few best practice pointers on supporting colleagues with mental health problems and breaking down mental health stigma.
- Educate employees about how to maintain good mental health – for example by getting enough sleep and taking exercise.
- Tell them about the support that’s available – through new starter sessions, posters, intranet and presentations.
- Train your line managers to recognise and deal with mental health concerns.
- Publicise and explain your Employee Assistance Programme if you have one, including how to access it, that it’s confidential, and that it won’t affect their employee records.
These ideas were developed following our own roundtable discussion with senior business leaders on this topic last year.
DR MARK WINWOOD
CLINICAL DIRECTOR FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH
AXA HEALTH'S HEALTH SERVICES DIVISION
Mark holds Associate Fellowship and Chartership with the British Psychological Society, he is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and is a chartered Scientist.
Mark joined the medical services of AXA Health in June 2008 and was previously Clinical Director for AXA Health Employee Support for over 10 years.
Prior to joining AXA Mark worked as a Senior Psychologist in the NHS and has many years of clinical experience and research expertise. He is an active member of the EAPA, BPS and BACP - Workplace. He maintains a private practice as a Psychologist in London.