Aviva has trained its 20-strong rehabilitation team to be mental health first aid instructors.
The training, by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, will support Aviva’s in-house clinical specialist psychiatric nurse and in-house clinical physiotherapist, as well as a dedicated team of rehabilitation case managers.
They have been trained to recognise the symptoms of mental health problems and the factors that influence employee wellbeing.
They will be able to help employers to manage absence and aid employees’ recovery and return to work.
According to Aviva’s group income protection claims at September 2013, the insurer has seen the volume of claims for mental health conditions increase by 250% over the past five years.
The claims records also show that the top five causes of mental health claims under the GIP policy, are moderate depression (28%), anxiety (11%), stress (10%), severe depression (10%) and bipolar affective disorder (8%).
Steve Bridger, head of group risk at Aviva, said: “We continue to see mental health being the largest cause of absence and it is also the hardest absence to manage.
“With the whole team now trained in mental health first aid, we can offer expertise and access to the right specialist mental health support to meet their needs.”
Poppy Jaman, chief executive officer of the Mental Health First Aid England, added: “An accredited MHFA instructor is fully qualified to teach others how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and the best approach to guiding someone to seek appropriate help.
“Aviva now has the resources within its organisation to train as many staff as possible, who, in turn, will have the skills to help [employers] prevent their [employees’] mental health problems from getting worse, thus aiding recovery and potentially saving lives.”