Insight & Analysis

Workplace mental health caseloads increasing

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A new survey of mental health professionals reveals that workplace mental health caseloads are increasing but employees are less likely to admit to needing help.

Most mental health professionals have seen an average rise in workplace cases over the past three years of more than 50%, according to a new survey. It is a trend that is set to continue.

The Workplace Wellbeing 2019 survey, commissioned by MSBHelp.co.uk, surveyed a network of more than 50 qualified counsellors throughout mainland UK. It revealed that 97% are seeing a rising number of cases and that the scale of the increase over the next five years could be by as much as 60%.

Counsellors were asked what they saw as the single most common workplace condition. Their responses revealed the leading causes to be anxiety, stress and depression, with many employees presenting with a combination of two or even all three conditions.

Other factors impacting on workers’ wellbeing include over-ambitious workloads, emotional fatigue, burn-out and fear.

Responsibility

Asked if they were finding employers more or less likely to pay for counselling services for their employees in the past three years, 58% felt they were unlikely to fund treatment.

MSBHelp.co.uk Director, Bernadette Bruckner, said employers have a responsibility for identifying and helping those with workplace mental health challenges. In the UK, this is now a legal requirement. “As counsellors’ caseloads rise, the number of employment tribunals with workplace mental health issues at their heart are on an upward trend too. This trend shows no sign of abating.”

Some 43% of all respondents said workers were ‘very unlikely’ or ‘unlikely’ to own up to having problems. Around 33% believe workers were ‘more likely’ to tell their bosses.

The survey also asked counsellors whether they felt employers should be given more help and support, alongside better guidelines from the government, on responding to mental health issues. 98% agreed that employers needed help.

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