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Employee Benefits News

Latest News
26 Feb 2018

More employers supporting employee mental health

UK employers are increasingly investing in proactive initiatives to tackle mental health and stress, according to research by Aon Employee Benefits, the UK health and benefits business of Aon.

Mental health first aid training is among the initiatives being adopted. This teaches managers and staff how to spot the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues, provide support, and guide a person to seek professional help and gain resilience coaching.

Employers´ investment in initiatives like this has increased to 42% from 36% a year ago.

Meanwhile, the number of employers providing health and wellbeing apps has more than doubled, jumping from 21% to 48%. This reflects the wider range of ‘fremium´ apps coming from major insurance lines such as private medical insurance, as well as an increased employer appreciation of technology, which is helping to engage employees in improving health behaviours, Aon explained.

The use of virtual GP services has also increased, with 27% of employers using them, compared to 16% last year.

More than two-thirds (68%) of employers reported stress and mental health-related illnesses within their workforce, up from 55% in the previous survey.

Mark Witte, head of healthcare and risk consulting of Aon Employee Benefits, said: “If there was one defining theme in 2017, it was the growth of and increased focus on corporate wellbeing programmes across several key areas. We now see 84% of employers saying that they consider themselves responsible for influencing their employees´ health behaviours.

“There has also been a 25% increase in the proportion of organisations with designated funding for their health and wellbeing programme, with over half of respondents now having a specific budget in place, or intending to within the next three years. This is a contributing factor to the increase in the proportion of employers offering programmes to help lifestyle behaviours, including weight loss, smoking cessation or physical activity.”

Witte highlighted the fact that more organisations are embracing technology to help deliver their wellbeing strategy, with both health apps and virtual GP services seeing considerable growth in the past year.

He added: “We expect this trend to accelerate further in 2018, as increased adoption of technology supports the growing understanding that employee engagement is critical to any successful wellbeing strategy.”

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