Covid-19 sees executives embrace mental health

The Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has been responsible for a generational shift in executives’ attitudes to mental health, according to new research by Bupa.

Data from the healthcare provider’s latest Global executive wellbeing index found there has been a permanent shift in the attitudes of UK business leaders, with seven in 10 admitting they now recognised mental ill-health in the people close to them in 2020.

The research revealed that prior to Coronavirus, nearly half (49%) of leaders would have considered talking about mental health as a sign of weakness. But now, 63% admitted the pandemic had caused them to feel differently about it. Nearly a third (31%) said they want to be more open and approachable about the state of their mental wellbeing.

This change in attitude may have come about due to executives’ own experiences, according to the study.

The report showed that more than three-quarters (78%) of those questioned admitted they had dealt with poor mental health during the pandemic. It also found 68% said they had seen symptoms such as fatigue, anger, impatience or low mood in their family members too.

Commenting on the findings Dr Pablo Vandenabeele, Bupa global’s clinical director for mental health, said: “The fact that executives are realigning their expectations means stigmas of the past are diminishing.”

He added: “It is a positive step that executives today are committed to taking a more proactive and open approach to addressing mental wellness.”

The data further showed that 63% of UK business leaders now planned to better manage their own mental health for the good of themselves and their family.