Why we need mental health protection as we return to Work
Before lockdown began, we already knew that mental health related issues are the most common cause of long-term sickness absence in UK workplaces.
Stress-related absence in particular was also on the rise according to a CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development) survey. It found that 37% of organisations reported that stress-related absence had increased in the past year.
Work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of work-related ill health, and an astonishing 54% of working days lost.
And remember, these facts relate to a world BEFORE lockdown…
Early indications suggest that the pandemic – and measures taken by the government to control it such as lockdown and social distancing – will have a significant impact upon the mental health of employees.
As early as two weeks into lockdown, employees were reporting a range of health issues including negative impacts on mental health and overall well-being. We’re now nearly three months into what is an unprecedented human experiment, so we can only begin to imagine how those feelings have since been exacerbated. It’s very possible that the mental health implications of COVID-19 and lockdown will be felt for many months and even years to come.
The CIPD’s research into the health impacts of lockdown have uncovered increased findings of fatigue, musculoskeletal conditions, poor work life balance, reduced exercise, and increased alcohol consumption.
In relation to mental health specifically, employees were reporting reduced motivation, loss of purpose, anxiety and isolation. Evidence from previous quarantine situations, prior to the current pandemic, suggests that there will be long lasting effects on mental health, with symptoms ranging from irritability and anger, to depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Psychotherapist Khody Damestani has found himself busier than ever during the COVID-19 crisis as people struggle to cope with the continued uncertainty.
“Figures already confirm that lockdown has had an impact on the mental health of huge numbers of people,” he said.
“Now the next mental challenge we face is returning to the strange new world of work. It is essential that companies protect their workforce by providing them with access to mental health support tools that will enable them to build the routines and habits that will assist them to adjust to the new normal.”
Mental Fitness App, MyMindPal, is offering organisations a free, no obligation seven-day trial so that they can help support their employees during this incredibly uncertain time.
Help us protect the mental health of the UK workforce by clicking here for your seven-day free trial.