9 May 2022

Mental Health Awareness Week

The Mental Health Foundation hosts Mental Health Awareness Week which aims to educate and increase awareness about mental illness. This year, it is happening between 9 to 15 May 2022. We are encouraged to show our support by wearing a green ribbon, the international symbol of mental health.

What is mental health?

Mental health affects our mood, thinking and behaviour. Conditions range from common problems such as anxiety and depression to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Mental health conditions are unfortunately common. According to charity Mind, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

Impact of mental health on businesses

Mental health problems are one of the leading causes of sickness absence. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 70 million workdays are lost each year in the UK due to mental health problems, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year [1]. Unfortunately, employees are often scared to tell their employers about a mental health issue, and so the problem can spiral.

Supporting your workforce

If employees are going to open up about their mental well-being, they need to feel reassured that being open about mental health issues will lead to support, not discrimination. This can be achieved by employers sending a clear message that your company will treat mental health in the same way as physical health.

If an employee is experiencing mental health issues, it’s vital that you have a meaningful conversation about their needs. It would be best if you worked together to find a solution - stay positive and focus on what they can do rather than what they can’t.

Support for ECIS Private Medical Insurance scheme members

ECIS scheme members have access to a range of services to help them overcome mental health issues. If employees have concerns over their mental health, Direct Access services allow them to speak directly to an expert without getting a GP referral.

The Employee Assistance Programme is a free, confidential telephone service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which provides support to members with issues that may be impacting their wellbeing and work performance.

If you’re not already an ECIS Private Medical Insurance scheme member, call the team on 0330 221 0241 or email ecis@ecins.co.uk. The ECIS team will guide you through the different Private Medical Insurance options available to you.

[1] Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health in the Workplace, 2019, https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/mental-health-workplace.