New research highlights the importance of employers providing support for employees who struggle with their mental health. Almost half of businesses reported seeing an employee leave their company due to not receiving mental wellbeing help.

Beneden Health, a private medical health care provider, has released a new report which looks into the impact of poor mental wellbeing on the UK’s workforce.

Support surrounding mental health is a priority for employees as the research finds that almost half (42 per cent) of UK businesses report seeing an employee leave due to their mental wellbeing not being cared for.

Of this number, a quarter (25 per cent) report losing a highly valuable member of staff as a result of failing to provide this support. This is potentially a worrying statistic as mental health issues have been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This importance of mental health support was equally echoed in the response from employees. Over half of employees (55 per cent) stated that they would seek a new job if they did not feel as though their employer was supporting their mental wellbeing.

This number rose when taking into account the responses from younger workers. Over three-quarters (78 per cent) of 18-24 year olds were most likely to leave a company if they did not feel they were receiving adequate support. This sharply contrasts with only 42 per cent of 45-54 year olds and only around a third (38 per cent) of employees aged over 55.

On the other hand, if a company does provide mental health support, the research shows that almost six in 10 workers (57 per cent) would be more likely to join that organisation.

Worryingly, there appears to be a significant disparity between what employees perceive their employer’s priorities to be and what employers feel are their main priorities as a business.

Whilst over half of employers (58 per cent) stated that they genuinely cared about the mental wellbeing of their staff, only a third (36 per cent) of workers shared the belief that mental wellbeing of employees was a main concern of their company.

Furthermore, only around half of employers (53 per cent) actively asked their staff what wellbeing support they would like the company to implement, further suggesting a lack of efficient communication regarding mental health between employers and their employees.

Employee feedback highlighted what support systems they wanted to see their organisation introduce most including: free counselling (46 per cent), mental health sick leave (45 per cent), regular reviews of workload (41 per cent) and a confidential mental wellbeing helpline.

Bob Andrews, CEO at Benenden Health, said:

It is concerning that employers have reported losing good staff due to poor mental wellbeing provision, something that employees clearly consider important, and which could be creating a perfect storm for UK businesses.

The data highlights a missed opportunity for companies to listen to their employees and promote good mental wellbeing within their organisation, as this can have a real positive effect not only on the health of employees but also on absence rates, productivity, recruitment and retention.

Businesses who do not take an interest in strengthening their mental wellbeing provision also risk missing the opportunity to access a talent pool that would be loyal to a company that prioritises positive mental wellbeing.

It’s important that employers don’t just talk the talk when it comes to mental wellbeing, but also put things into practice to support their staff. It’s not too late though. I hope these findings will encourage businesses to think again about how they approach wellbeing within their organisation and make their workplace an even better place to be.

*This research was obtained from Beneden Health’s report ‘The Elephant That Never Left the Room: Why stigma is still preventing employees from telling their boss the truth about their mental wellbeing in the workplace’. Censuswide, on behalf of Beneden Health, surveyed 1,008 UK working employees (non furloughed) and 1,003 UK business owners and directors in May-June 2020.