Mental health remains the leading cause of sickness absence, with an estimated 70 million work days lost annually due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year*.
The pandemic has accentuated the problem - with more employees experiencing mental health difficulties and longer waiting times for clinical support.
For some, a return to the physical workplace after a prolonged period with limited social interaction will be a source of additional anxiety. Ensuring that employees can access tailored mental health support is now more important than ever and has been a focus for many employers this Mental Health Awareness Week.
The Access to Work Mental Health Support Service, delivered by Remploy and funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, provides mental health support to any employee in paid employment struggling with their mental health. The free, confidential service offers nine months of individual, personalised support, including 1-to-1 support from an expert Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant.
The service explores and addresses the employee’s specific challenges (for example, poor sleep, anxiety, or burnout at work), and provides employees with personalised tools to cope with any difficulties they may face in the workplace.
Where appropriate, employers will also be provided with the tools to help their teams remain productive.
Businesses from major City banks to NHS trusts and even Formula One teams such as Williams F1 have recognised the value of the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service in supporting the mental wellbeing of both employees and apprentices within their workforce.
Dr Nick Zygouris, Director of Mental Health at Maximus UK, said: “While clinical interventions may be appropriate and necessary for employees experiencing mental health issues, this scheme can provide additional practical and motivational support complementing and in some cases even avoiding the need for further clinical interventions.”
*Mental Health Foundation.