2020 has been a challenging year. As we entered it, there were mumblings of a virus but nobody could have foreseen a need to lock down entire countries. For many businesses, there was a need to quickly adapt working practices so that staff could work from home. Zoom became a new word in peoples’ everyday lives. Not just for work but also for fun family quizzes and keeping in touch with friends and relatives.
Covid and employee mental health
What has become clear in the intervening months since the pandemic took hold is that employee mental health has suffered. This is something that employers need to take seriously as changes to peoples’ routines, the lack of human interaction and feelings of isolation can have a dramatic effect on staff mental well being. Where we once had excitement for Zoom meetings, people are now starting to suffer Zoom fatigue. Indeed, Mind has found that more than half of adults (60%) and over two-thirds of young people (68%) have said their mental health got worse during the lockdown.
Supporting mental health in the workplace
Employers have a ‘duty of care’. This requires them to support employees’ which includes health, safety and wellbeing. Employers need to create an environment where employees are able to talk freely about mental health. According to the Health and Safety Executive, one in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point.
The Stevenson / Farmer review of mental health and employers was commissioned by the UK Prime Minister in January 2017 and conducted by Lord Dennis Stevenson, the mental health campaigner and former chairman of HBOS, and Paul Farmer CBE, the CEO of Mind. The report found that 300,000 people with long-term mental health problems lose their jobs each year. This is not good for either the employee or the business.
It is important for employers to consider they can support mental health in the workplace and improve the welfare of employees. That has become even more important during the Covid pandemic as employees work remotely and can often feel a sense of isolation.
What are we doing?
We have set up our VQ Together service which offers free cognitive behaviour therapy for existing apprentices as well as our own staff. We have also opened this service up to employers who are able to signpost staff to this service. It is also open to any other members of the public who feel they would benefit from this service.
Sessions can be booked using our online booking system. Alternatively please call us on 01423 642812.