New report from AXA Health shines a light on the importance of workplace mind health

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To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, AXA Health has this week launched its 2024 UK mind health workplace report. The good news is that the report revealed areas of real improvement when it comes to the positive impact of workplace mind health support – employees are three times more likely to flourish if they feel supported by their employer, signalling the importance and value of good workplace mind health support.

However, the report also found that over half (53%) of the UK aren’t in a positive state of mind health and more people are languishing (33%) than last year (26%).

The message is clear for the UK workplace. This is no time for complacency and the impact of good mental health support at work is good for both retention and performance.

Supporting the needs of the younger workforce

Workers in the UK aged between 18 and 24 have the highest rates of loneliness and social isolation and just over half (51%) said they feel lonely some or almost all of the time. So, it’s not surprising 72% of these young workers state mental health benefits and initiatives are an important factor when deciding whether to stay with an employer.

Empowering managers

The study recognised the need for more support for managers. A third of managers needed to take time off work due to their mental health in the past year. This group are twice as likely to have taken sick leave due to their mental health within the last year and nearly a third (29%) have moderate to extremely severe symptoms of depression.

Spotlight on the role of employers

Whist the report showsed that work itself isn’t always the main cause of mental difficulties (41% of UK workers stated it was more related to personal reasons than professional challenges, compared to 17% who said it was the other way round, and often can be a combination of work and personal factors), it’s clear that employers can make a big impact.

Employees who believe their company cares about their mental health and is taking action to help them are almost twice as likely to have flourishing mind health. This is a clear message to forward-thinking employers that offering good mind health support and building a caring environment can support a flourishing workforce and a flourishing business.

The Centre for Business and Economic Research (Cebr) found that around £26 billion was lost to the UK economy from workers taking sick days last year, and a further £57.4 billion from workers being less productive due to work-related mind health conditions. The remainder was lost from workers who chose to leave their jobs altogether.

Here are five ways identified in the report that companies can prioritise mind health support in the workplace:

  1. Find different ways to help people flourish: this could include offering and promoting self-help
    tools, providing training to develop skills or giving access to mind health coaching
  2. Focus on flexibility: a good work-life balance is essential for happy and healthy employees and
    flexibility is the key to meet people’s different needs
  3. Train, support and empower managers: managers are more likely to experience symptoms of
    stress, anxiety and depression so give them the right support and easy access to training to have a
    positive effect on the workforce as a whole
  4. Invest in young talent: help younger people flourish by providing ongoing support and develop good relationships to enable flourishing mind health
  5. Create a culture of trust, respect and kindness: find new ways to engage, encourage and normalise
    conversations about difficult topics and invest in workplace relationships

To find out more about these emerging trends from AXA Health Chief Executive Officer Heather Smith, and hear how Nomura, Accenture and Clifford Chance are responding, register here to attend the free webinar that Make A Difference is running together with AXA Health from 12.30pm – 1.30pm on Thursday 13th June.

To view the full AXA Health UK mind health workplace report and its approach to mind health and wellbeing, click here.

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