May is Mental Health Awareness Month

A recently released survey from Aon Employee Benefits, the UK health and benefits business of Aon, showed a disturbingly sharp increase in the number of employers reporting employee stress and mental health-related illnesses — from 55 percent last year to 68 percent in 2018.

On a more positive note, the survey also revealed that employers are investing more in proactive initiatives including mental health first aid training which teaches managers and staff how to detect the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues, provide support and guide a person to seek professional help and gain resilience coaching. Employer investment in proactive initiatives to tackle mental health and stress have increased to 42 percent from 36 percent in the previous year.

The survey also showed that more employers are providing health and well-being apps, jumping from 21 percent to 48 percent in the year.

Most Call EAP for Mental Health Help

Nearly three-quarters (70%) of employees have called their organization’s employee assistance program (EAP) for help with mental health problems, according to research by Unum.

Unum’s analysis of the 12,610 calls made to its EAP service, provided in conjunction with Lifeworks, between December 1, 2016 and November 30, 2017 also found that of the calls relating to mental health problems, 66% were for anxiety and depression, 13% regarded problems caused by relationship issues and 9% related to bereavement.

The research also found:

* 60% of employees who phoned the EAP for mental health problems were offered counseling and 97% were offered an initial appointment within five days. In total, 17,335 counseling sessions were provided between 1 December 2016 and 30 November 2017.

* 92% of employees who were provided with access to counseling support as a result of calling the EAP service saw their mental health improve.

“EAPs are a first line of defense for employers and line managers in protecting the well-being of their staff,” said Ambika Fraser, head of propositions at Unum. “They provide fast, confidential solutions to all kinds of problems from mental health to debt and relationship worries that could otherwise quickly escalate and impact productivity.”