72% say mental health benefits are important in decision to stay with employer

mental health benefits initiatives Almost three-quarters (72%) of UK workers aged between 18 and 24 feel that mental health benefits and initiatives are an important factor when deciding whether to stay with an employer, according to research by healthcare provider Axa Health.

Its 2024 UK mind health workplace report, which surveyed 1,000 employees aged 18 to 75 in 16 countries, also found that 53% of UK respondents said they are not in a positive state of mind health, with 20% admitting to struggling. Two-fifths (41%) stated that the main cause of mental difficulties was related more to personal reasons than professional challenges, whereas 17% said the opposite.

Nearly one-third (29%) of UK managers said they have moderate to extremely severe symptoms of depression and have needed to take time off work due to their mental health in the past year. This group was twice as likely to have taken sick leave due to their mental health within the last year.

Meanwhile, UK respondents aged between 18 and 24 years had the highest rates of loneliness and social isolation, with 51% feeling lonely some or almost all of the time.

Eugene Farrell, mental health consultancy lead at Axa Health, said: “An inclusive work environment is about creating a culture of psychological safety where people know their mental health and personal wellbeing is always a priority. It needs to be embedded into the fabric of the organisation, so people know they’re always safe at work and can feel empowered to express any concerns or struggles.”

Dr Imren Sterno, lead consultant clinical psychologist at Axa Health, added: “The data from the study suggests employers need to consider a more tailored personal approach to support individuals to flourish. This can help people feel empowered, not just to manage their own mental wellbeing, but to be open about mind health and support others. This helps promote an understanding culture where people want to work and where they feel a sense of belonging, purpose and togetherness.”