Employee stress is a ‘mental health timebomb’ – Cigna

Adam Saville
10th July, 2018

84% of UK workers have suffered poor mental health, but only a quarter received support from employers

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Work-related stress is the UK’s number one wellbeing priority, The 2018 Cigna 360° Well-being Survey has indicated.

According to the research conducted by Cigna, eight in 10 people are experiencing work-related stress, with one in five describing it as ‘unmanageable’. The UK ranks fifth worst for stress in the world, behind only United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Korea.

In the UK, more than a quarter (26%) of people blame work for the reason for their stress, the report found, while other typical sources include finances, family issues and health problems.

The survey also found that only one in 10 (9%) UK employees have a wellbeing programme in place, significantly behind other Western markets – globally, one in five (22%) employees have a wellbeing programme in place.

Meanwhile, almost half (44%) of those surveyed said that a workplace wellbeing programme would sway them towards choosing an employer.

Mental health

The research also highlighted that employers need to do more to support the mental health of their employees, with UK workers with a group healthcare plan saying that they need more help to manage stress.

One in three employees (29%) rated stress management as the second most desired healthcare benefit in the UK, after dental benefits (32%), while more than eight in 10 (84%) said they have suffered a mental health condition at some point in their lives – but only a quarter of them received help from their employer. Half of employees admitted they were too embarrassed to admit they had an emotional wellbeing concern, the survey said.

“It’s clear employers have an important role to play in mental health,” said Phil Austin, CEO Europe, Cigna. “Our research shows that despite people wanting more help, the UK is lagging behind comparable countries in offering workplace wellbeing support. But the good news is that employers are beginning to recognise the cost of poor mental health at work and the impact this can have on their employees and business.”

“Cigna is helping employers tackle this prevailing issue,” he added. “We were first in the UK to launch a self-referral pathway for fast access to emotional well-being support and early intervention care. Our proactive approach helps employers move towards an emotionally supportive culture in the workplace.”

The full report, which involved 14,467 online interviews conducted from February to March 2018 across 23 countries and territories, can be downloaded here.

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