Mental Health and Technology in 2022
In early February, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, ran their annual ‘Time to Talk Day’ in the UK, with focus on creating supporting communities for people to have conversations with family, friends and colleagues about their mental health. This is in the context of some alarming facts and figures around mental health in modern day life:
- A Health and Safety Executive Summary report published late last year (December 2021) outlined that 50% of all work-related ill health cases in 2020/21 were stress, depression or anxiety related. In the midst of an alarming combination of lockdowns, remote working, uncertainty over a return to the office and rising living costs, it is no surprise that ‘work pressure’ is now the number one cause of stress in our lives.
- In 2021 alone, mental health issues were the main reason for a vast majority of sickness-related absences from work, at a cost of an estimated £43 billion to UK employers.
- Males aged between 45-49 continue to have the highest suicide rate (24 per 100,000).
- 51% of respondents to a survey commissioned by Lime Insurance felt under pressure to hide their mental health struggles from colleagues and put on a brave face.
- And in a separate poll carried out by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England revealed that 29% of employees have never spoken to their line manager about their mental health.
How can the Healthcare Sector lead on this?
By 2030, it is projected that mental illness costs are expected to exceed US$6trillion annually, and as a result, mental health providers, tech and disruptive innovators are working with a broad range of governments, health care providers, universities and insurers to further advance digital solutions to address various mental health conditions. These digital technologies and advancements have the potential to truly transform our health systems to provide a more affordable, scalable and accessible service for the individual.
So what can be done today?
As these developments gather pace and momentum, both from an economic and political standpoint, there are a number of immediate actions employers can work towards to support their employees.
Studies have shown that where mental health training is incorporated into the culture of an organisation, employees are more resilient and productive, morale is higher, and employees are less like to be absent through sickness. Here are a few simple steps you take to help your employees:
- Increase awareness and create a culture of open dialogue;
- Tackle the direct causes of stress and anxiety in the workplace through positive initiatives and addressing employee-led concerns;
- Continue to evaluate and improve processes already in place;
- Offer and encourage support networks, for example, introducing a Mental Health First Aider into the business; and
- Offer flexibility and understanding, particularly around the transition from home working to a hybrid model of flexible working.
For more information, contact our Healthcare Team today