Lockdown reveals disconnect between leaders and staff on mental health support

Businesses are more aware of employee mental health but are they offering the right support?

Figures from CV-Library have revealed that three-quarters of organisations are more aware of employee mental health since the first lockdown last year.

Statistics from CV-Library’s survey found the most popular mental health resources that were put in place by organisations during this time were:

  • Information and ‘how to’ guides on how to protect mental health (58.8%)
  • An employee helpline (33.8%)
  • Access to meditation/ mental health apps (26.5%)
  • Access to talking therapy (25%)
  • Mental health first aiders (19.1%)

CV-Library’s study also found that “83% of businesses felt they already did enough to support the mental health of their staff before the lockdown in March 2020.” However, statistics around job burnout during the pandemic suggest otherwise; a 2020 study from HR and payroll firm MHR found that 76% of staff would have liked their manager to check in on them more regularly while 48% took a day off due to mental health concerns.

Additionally, 93.5% of businesses said “they haven’t received any specific mental health requests from employees since the global pandemic began,” which considering the statistics that point to poor employee mental health during COVID-19, must mean something else.

This could indicate that businesses aren’t providing staff with sufficient mental health support; the same MHR study found that 53% said they didn’t think their company was concerned about employee mental health or wellbeing, while 67% thought that revealing a mental health condition could affect their career, which shows that mental health topics remain a workplace stigma.

With statistics indicating that employees aren’t likely to be forthcoming about mental health issues due to workplace culture, perhaps organisations need to meet them halfway and invest more in proactive mental health services like mental health first aiders and therapy services.

The fact CV-Library’s findings showed that organisations invested the most into mental health information and guides (58.8%) and the least into mental health first aiders (19.1%) during this time could explain why so many businesses weren’t getting mental health requests from employees as the services might not have been what they needed.

Lee Biggins, CEO, and Founder of CV-Library said that while employers must showcase their mental health support, staff should reach out too: “The last 14 months have been exceptionally challenging for every individual across the UK and many of us will be dealing with the mental fall out of the pandemic for months to come. While restrictions are being lifted, the impact of COVID-19 is still being widely felt, and it’s imperative that business leaders continue to show understanding and offer support to staff.

“As an employee, it’s vital that you reach out for help if your mental health is suffering. Most companies should have designated mental first aiders that you can go to for support; or failing that, be sure to reach out to a member of the HR team. They should be able to direct you to the best resources available to staff and help you get back on your feet.”

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