A new survey of UK mental health professionals reveals that all have seen workplace mental health case-loads increase over the last three years with an average rise of more than 50% in those seeking help – and the numbers are set to rise.
Worse, professional counsellors believe that bosses are woefully underequipped to cope with managing their staff’s workplace mental health issues.
MSBHelp.co.uk, which has launched a low-cost professional online counselling and information service to help employers meet new responsibilities for staff mental health, carried out its MSBHelp.co.uk Workplace Wellbeing 2019 survey across its network of qualified counsellors throughout mainland UK.
The professionals providing care and treatment for workers with mental health challenges were united in the view that rising numbers of cases to date is a trend that will continue (96.8%).
Asked to give an estimate of the scale of the increase in cases over the next five years to 2023, counsellors agreed that employers should expect a continuing rise of up to a further 60%.
Counsellors were asked what they saw as the single most common workplace condition.
They said that the lead contributors to workplace mental health issues are anxiety, stress and depression, with many employees presenting with a combination of two or even all three conditions.
Other factors impacting on workers’ wellbeing are over-ambitious workloads (‘1 doing the work of 3’), emotional fatigue, burn-out and fear. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder appears on the list as do addiction and co-dependency.
More than 50 highly qualified mental health professionals were asked how they thought employers were preparing for new Government requirements for bosses to take responsibility for colleagues’ mental health.
Asked if they were finding employers more or less likely to pay for counselling services for their employees in the past three years, just over 40% (42%) felt they were more likely to, while just under 60% (58%) felt they were unlikely to fund treatment.
MSBHelp.co.uk Director Bernadette Bruckner said:
“Recent changes to the Equality Act 2010 have firmly set responsibility for identifying and helping those with workplace mental health challenges at employers’ doors. As counsellors’ case-loads rise, the number of employment tribunals with workplace mental health issues at their heart are on an upward trend too, and that’s not new.
“This shows no sign of abating and employers can’t be expected to be expert in workplace mental wellness as well as everything else they have to deal with in running their businesses. We have been listening to what our counsellors tell us, and we’ve seen how easy it is for employers to be caught out. We wanted to set up a proven and professional support system that helps both.”