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Not enough being done to support Sheffield staff mental health in the workplace

Is enough being done to support your mental health?
Is enough being done to support your mental health?

With a rise in workplace-related stress, illnesses and mental health issues, over half (61%) of working adults in Sheffield believe that businesses are not doing enough to support the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees, according to a new study released today.

Current treatments such as health check-ups, cognitive behavioural therapy and chiropractic treatment are provided by the NHS, through National Insurance contributions, but 73% of those surveyed by Sheffield-based Westfield Health stated that the NHS does not have the budget to provide wellbeing services like these.

So is National Insurance becoming unfit for purpose? People in Sheffield don’t seem to know, with only 16% of employees knowing how much National Insurance they pay and 36% don’t know how much of the contribution goes where, be it the NHS, social security or their state pension.

With an ageing workforce and more hours spent in the office than ever, should the NHS’s frontline resources continue to be used for wellbeing services? The research found that 36% of workers in Sheffield would like to see the Government do more to promote their physical and mental wellbeing. And the vast majority (68%) believe that their employer is specifically not doing enough to help employees deal with work-related stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.

Similar to the recent rollout of the workplace pension opt-out, could a government-backed auto-enrolment scheme for wellbeing programmes - funded by employers and by a portion of employees’ National Insurance contributions - be one of the solutions to address the NHS’s long-term financial needs?

Certainly the appetite is there in Sheffield with 66% of employees stating they’d use wellbeing services if their employer provided them.

The top things they would like to be offered are:

Back care and posture 48%

Health check-ups 46%

Emotional wellness 35%

David Capper, Commercial Director of Westfield Health, said: “The total number of UK working days lost to stress, anxiety and depression resulting from long working hours is 12.5million days. Therefore, it makes sense for employers to relieve some of the pressure through wellbeing initiatives. Not only would they be supporting our economy, they’ll make huge cost savings by looking after their staff’s health, with presenteeism now costing businesses up to three times more than absenteeism*.

“From sleep to nutrition and mental health to physical fitness, there are so many elements that contribute to your overall wellness, happiness and healthiness. It’s more than free fruit in the office and discounted gym memberships. As business leaders, we need to create a culture where our people’s health and wellbeing is prioritised to drive confidence, capability, inspiration and ultimately prosperity.”

Lisa Pogson, Director at Sheffield-based Airmaster Air Conditioning, which is passionate about wellbeing in the workplace, said: “At Airmaster, we believe that taking some responsibility for our employees’ wellbeing is really important. They are our greatest asset, but to do their best work they need to be well in mind, body and spirit.

“We actively support staff having personal wellness sessions and we encourage use of counselling and doctor advice lines if needed, along with debt support and pretty much any other issues they have with an external confidential contact. We hope that all these initiatives go a little way to helping them see that we are committed to their health and wellbeing and then training and support for their work is there too.”

For more information about workplace health and wellbeing, please call 03331 227 343 or visit www.westfieldhealth.com/business.