MAKE A DIFFERENCE | workplace culture / mental health / wellbeing

New Tool Enables Employers to Understand Impact of Covid-19 on Employees’ Mental Health

As we navigate our way through the Covid-19 crisis, experts are warning employers that many will have had their mental health impacted in different ways by the pandemic. With fears of a possible recurrence of the pandemic later this year, what we as employers do now is critical. But how do you assess the impact of Covid-19 on employees and understand the scope of support needed?

A new online, free to use, Mental Health Calculator for employees could be the answer. The new tool, has been launched today by Kooth Work, from the UK’s largest digital mental health provider XenZone. According to the size of business, the tool offers employers insight into the types of conditions, issues and concerns likely to be experienced by their employees.

The calculator is based on live data from XenZone’s digital mental health platforms, the latest UK research and National Health Service (NHS) data. It provides context in terms of the costs of absenteeism. Drawing on clinical perspectives for positive action, It also recommends appropriate measures employers could take to address mental health and wellbeing issues.

The data provided by the tool can help organisations to compile their business case to address mental health across their workforce.

The scale of the problem

A recent poll by Opinium found that almost half (47%) of UK adults said that their mental health has been impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak. More than a third (35%) stated that they were worried about their future.

Recent data from XenZone’s digital mental health services (which is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – shows that among adults, demand for support has increased by 80%* compared to last year. Work concerns, loneliness, trauma/PTSD and sleep difficulties have all risen markedly. Presenting issues relating to trauma have risen by 61% on last year.

A call to action

In our profile interview with Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman, Barclays UK, he called on employers not to ‘waste a good crisis’. He urged them to ensure mental health and wellbeing are built into organisation recovery plans.

Sir Norman Lamb, former health minister and chair of XenZone’s advisory board echoes this sentiment. He says: “We should not ‘wait and see’ what the mental health impacts of the coronavirus outbreak are before we act. Data from XenZone and elsewhere clearly shows how critical it is to act now before issues become entrenched or escalate”.

For employees returning to work, or bracing themselves for an imminent return after a long period of working from home, these can be incredibly pressured and anxious times.

Sir Norman Lamb added: “It’s critical that employers are aware of how issues may have built up or exacerbated during lockdown and what they can do to support them responsibly and effectively”.

Dr Lynne Green, XenZone’s chief clinical officer, recognises that businesses are struggling to support employees throughout the Covid-19 crisis. She said: Our online mental health services give us a rich seam of data to mine in order to understand in detail the mental health and wellbeing issues people are experiencing day to day”.

“We’re keen to share this data and to encourage others to use and learn from it so that we can better support those who need help”.

At the MAD World Summit 2019, the doyenne of workplace mental health and wellbeing Dame Carol Black reminded us that often employers put initiatives in place without assessing needs and knowing who needs them the most. Is this new tool from Kooth what employers need to ease this process?

You can access the free to use online Mental Health Calculator here.

About the author

Claire Farrow is the Global Director of Content and Programming for the Mad World and Make a Difference Summits. She also drives the content for Make A Difference News. Claire is on a mission to help every employer – large, medium and small – get the insight, inspiration and contacts they need to make real impact on workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing in their organisation. She has been freelance for more than 15 years. During that time, she has had the honour of working with many leading publishers, including the New York Times