Research reveals employee concerns over mental health: 82% fear for the future

International health benefits provider, Aetna International, recently surveyed 4,000 office workers and 1,000 HR Directors across the globe to find out their thoughts on the current state of health care and wellness provisions in the workplace – and it seems when it comes to mental health, employers should be concerned.

As part of the Business of Health 2020 report, employees were asked about the level of mental health support in the workplace and how it impacts them.

Shockingly, 82% of employees are concerned that mental health issues will impact their ability to work at some point in the future. The survey also revealed that:

  • 89% of employees agree that they would stay with an employer longer if they provided good mental health support
  • 67% of office workers would not join an employer who did not have a clear policy on supporting those with mental health issues
  • 66% of office workers would not join an employer if they did not offer good mental health support
  • 82% of employees would feel undervalued if a company did not support their mental and physical health

Both HR Directors and employees were also asked about the level of support their company/employer provides for mental health. The survey found that there is a significant disconnect between how HR Directors perceive mental health support offered at work, and how employees see it:

  • While nearly half (43%) of HR Directors think the mental health support at their company is good, only a quarter (25%) of employees agree
  • Only 16% of HR Directors rated the level of mental health support received from employers as poor, while 32% of employees rated the level of support as poor

Global view
In terms of geographical location, HR Directors and employees in certain regions had more heavily-conflicting opinions. For example, HR Directors in the UAE were the most positive, with 46% of them feeling that the level of support their employer provides for employee mental health is good (higher than the global average of 43%).

In contrast, employees in the UAE reacted the most negatively, with only 20% of them feeling that the level of support their employer provides for employee mental health is good (lower than the global average of 25%).

Rob Stephenson, Founder of InsideOut, and mental health influencer comments:

“With two-thirds of people not wanting to join a company without a good mental health policy, it’s clear that, if companies want to remain competitive in the war for talent, they need to address this as a priority.

“The fact is, we’re only now uncovering the scale of the problem when it comes to mental health – it’s one of the greatest challenges of our time. On the other hand, helping people manage their well-being proactively is one of the great opportunities.

“We have to do better to realise that opportunity. Much of this starts with leaders. It’s imperative that our leaders get fully behind the mental health & well-being agenda, show vulnerability and compassion rather than concentrate on an aggressive style, and create cultures that allow people to thrive in the workplace and beyond.”

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