More than two-thirds of employees would value access to mental health first aiders

Jack Curzon

More than two thirds (69%) of UK employees, and 80% of those aged between 18 and 24, would value having mental health first aiders at their office, according to research by Thomsons Online Benefits.

The survey of 2,000 UK employees also found that 64% would value access to 24/7 counselling services; this increases to 69% for respondents aged between 18 and 24.

Almost three-quarters (73%) believe they need to improve their mental wellbeing, with 46% feeling that their employer should support this. More than a quarter (26%) of employees cite mental wellbeing as their number one personal priority, but a further 26% say that working long hours is the key factor preventing them from improving it.

More than half (55%) stated that their organisation does not provide mental health first aid, while 48% said their employer does not offer access to counselling.

Jack Curzon (pictured), consulting director at Thomsons Online Benefits, said: “Mental wellbeing is clearly a key priority for UK employees, yet some organisations are still failing to provide comprehensive support in this vital area.

“According to our research, 12% [of] UK employees describes their mental wellbeing as poor, 35% believe theirs is just adequate and 45% classify theirs as good. While the level of poor mental wellbeing in the workplace is concerning and must be addressed as a matter of urgency, the findings also highlight significant variation in mental wellness.

“Employers must remember that while their people may be on different mental wellbeing pathways, they all require support. Providing a personalised benefits offering, that enables individual employees to select from a range of options, covering counselling sessions to mindfulness apps, is an effective way of providing this. Having access to these kinds of benefits, and a working culture that is open and supportive around mental health, is not only good for employee wellbeing, but it undoubtedly has a positive impact on productivity and loyalty too.”