Eugene Farrell, Mental Health Lead for AXA Health, highlights the need for a one health approach:
We’re at a critical moment in the nation’s mental health. Recent HSE statistics revealed in Great Britain work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of work-related ill health and 54% of work-related working days lost, in 2018/19.¹
It’s a big issue that’s not escaped business leaders, with nearly two thirds (62%) of the HR professionals the Reward and Employee Benefits Association polled for its Employee Wellbeing Research report saying it’s their boards’ biggest wellbeing concern.²
Much has been done, and will continue to be done, to raise mental health awareness driven by ‘awareness days’ and ‘wellbeing initiatives’ but, unless employers are able to join the sum of the parts (communications, resources, policies, training and the like) and offer both a preventive and supportive culture that addresses whole health, the upward trend looks set to continue.
Farrell explains “Poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems. Similarly, poor mental health can adversely affect physical health. Additionally, mental health and other physical health conditions have separate but additive negative effects on wellbeing so it’s imperative wellbeing strategies consider both.”
Pav Powar, Employee Benefits Consultant at Avison Young, continues “It’s about understanding the employee as a whole. Personal issues, financial issues, physical issues. It’s about providing that integrated approach in line with real life.”
Organisations’ wellbeing programmes should therefore seek to address and support all contributing factors whilst with mental health consider how individuals function, and the support available to them, when they’re healthy, at risk, unwell and on the mend.