86% believe employers do not do enough to support mental wellbeing

Westfield Helath health and wellbeing

More than four-fifths (86%) of respondents do not feel employees are doing enough to support employees with work-related stress, anxiety and other mental health issues, according to research by Westfield Health.

Its research, which surveyed 2,025 UK employees, also found that more than three-quarters (79%) of respondents think their employer could do more to support the physical and mental wellbeing of employees. In addition, 63% would be interested in using wellbeing services if their employer provided them, and just under three-quarters (74%) of respondents would like a portion of their national insurance contributions (NICs) to go towards improving wellbeing.

The research also found that employees felt that employers should be doing more to help with work-related stress to take the onus away from the NHS, with 70% of respondents citing that they did not believe the NHS has enough budget for wellbeing services, and a further 63% of respondents wanting the government to do more to promote wellbeing.

David Capper, commercial director at Westfield Health, said: “With the financial pressures of a growing and ageing population, alongside rising public expectations of the level of care they receive, the NHS is under greater strain than ever before. And, with the cost of presenteeism being so vast for UK businesses, doesn’t it make sense for employers to relieve some of the pressure though wellbeing initiatives?

“It was recently reported that Britain’s productivity is 16% behind the other G7 nations. With Brexit just around the corner, it’s time to ask the question what part could a healthy, happy workforce play in helping UK businesses close this gap on productivity?

“From sleep to nutrition and mental health to physical fitness, there are so many elements that contribute to overall wellness, happiness and healthiness. It’s more than free fruit in the office and discounted gym memberships. As business leaders, we need to create a culture where people’s health and wellbeing is prioritised to drive confidence, capability, inspiration and, ultimately, prosperity.”

Dr Anouska Carter, principal researcher at the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, added: “Poor lifestyle choices in an aging population is crippling the NHS, due to an increased incidence of such conditions as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. The prevention of chronic disease and maintenance of good health, require complex lifestyle behaviour change interventions that are based on sound scientific principles.”

“There is an urgent need for a new approach to stem the rapid increase in chronic disease.  Workplaces have the opportunity to offer the ideal setting for a preventative approach to health and wellbeing, with adults spending most of their waking hours at work.”

“The right working environment and approach to helping employees lead a healthy and active lifestyle can benefit not only the employees and the businesses that they work for, but also their families, which will relieve pressure on the NHS, helping it to focus on doing what it does best.”