Over half of workers have not received any COVID-19 mental health support from employers

Since March over half of the workers have not received any mental health advice or support from their employer during the spread of COVID-19.

This is according to TalkOut, a mental health organisation that found that 56 per cent of employees have not received mental health support from their company. Also, 85 per cent feel that mental health assistance has not been their employer’s main priority during the pandemic.

Over a third (35 per cent) have stated that their mental health is worse in comparison to pre-pandemic levels. In addition, 68 per cent are anxious about the idea of returning to work and 51 per cent feel uncertain about their job security.

In September, HRreview reported on research from Mitrefinch, a global workforce management solution which found there was a 4,000 per cent increase in Google searches for the question “do I have to go back to the office” between March and June. With “back to work anxiety” Google searches increasing by 567 per cent.

What adds to the situation, is that 31 per cent of staff are having fewer one-to-one meetings with their boss and 60 per cent have had no organised virtual social activities with their team.

Jill Mead, chief executive of TalkOut, said:

A positive and supportive workplace can make all the difference when it comes to mental health and, now more than ever, businesses have a duty of care to their workforce.

Vicky Pawsey, director at Papillon Psychology, said:

It is incumbent on employers to make sure that those involved in providing employees with support are equipped with the sometimes complex range of skills and resources involved, and importantly that there is also appropriate provision for ‘supporting the supporters’.

Employees are not willing to speak to HR departments about stress or anxiety, with only 15 per cent saying they were comfortable doing so. More than double the amount of workers (41 per cent) were more willing to speak to their line manager instead of HR. Under a fifth (17 per cent) said they would not reach out to anyone if they were experiencing poor mental health.

In order to gather these results, TalkOut surveyed 1,500UK employees.