Employers urged to do more to support workers with mental health or musculoskeletal conditions

Seven in 10 employees believe that employers are not taking mental wellbeing and musculoskeletal issues seriously enough in the workplace, according to a poll by health cash plans provider Health Shield.

Two in three employees said that their business does not provide tailored support for mental health or musculoskeletal conditions, and only one in three have access to a 24/7 helpline to help look after their mental and physical wellbeing.

Over a third (36%) of respondents said that when they suffered from a musculoskeletal problem, it contributed to an increase in anxiety. And 90% said they would feel better knowing there was a clear treatment pathway available to help manage such issues.

The findings come at a time when the UK government is looking at how employees with mental health and musculoskeletal issues can be helped to stay in work, for example by increasing their ability to self-manage their conditions and by helping people access advice and support.

"Research shows that depression is four times as common in people experiencing persistent pain," explained Stuart Scullion, executive chairman of the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries (AMII). "Clearly there's a link between the two, so it would be wise for employers to consider cost-effective ways to provide integrated support. Having to go via a line manager, HR or the GP to get a referral can sometimes act as a barrier. Self-referral might help ensure that more people get the support they need."

The poll results suggest that many employers are struggling to meet employee needs, added Jennie Doyle, head of product and marketing at Health Shield.

"Tailored mental and musculoskeletal wellbeing doesn't have to be costly or complicated. It simply involves providing a choice of services that can be freely accessed at the time of need," she said.

Posted on November 21st 2018

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