Wellbeing & Benefits

Just days before the one-year anniversary of lockdown, research by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) has revealed that a quarter of staff have still not had a wellbeing check-in since the Covid-19 pandemic started. Timed to coincide with MHFA’s ‘My Whole Self Day’, the survey further found that nearly a third (29%) have yet to have any mental health discussions with their line managers.

According to the charity, the results should serve as a wake-up call to employers to “take steps to increase support for their people”. MHFA England CEO Simon Blake said: “Coronavirus has increased the need for employers to support the mental health and wellbeing of their staff. But as these figures show, support now needs serious attention as we start to rebuild.”

Particularly worrying was the finding that the impact of lack of help was creating serious gender inequalities, according to Blakee. The research discovered that more than double the number of women than men (68% compared to 31%), said their workplace confidence had dipped as a result of the pandemic, while many more women (64%) reported feelings of loneliness and isolation than men (36%).

Blake added: “As these statistics show, the pandemic has laid bare pre-existing inequalities – gender, race and economic – and in turn it has exacerbated them.”

Overall, 41% of respondents said they had less frequent wellbeing check-ins, or none at all, during the pandemic, while 43% said their workplace mental health and wellbeing support had either stayed the same, or got worse, during the pandemic.

More encouraging however, was that 38% of employees said they found it easier to bring their ‘whole self’ to work, and be more open with colleagues while working from home. This was double the number of those who believed it was more difficult to do so (19%).

MHFA is specifically calling for staff to be able to do this more, with My Whole Self Day aimed at creating cultural change within organisations.

Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said: “Now more than ever it’s imperative staff feel able to bring their whole self to the office. The pandemic has showed the need for more empathetic leadership.”

My Whole Self Day is backed by mental health leaders at organisations including The Samaritans, Nestle, Bupa UK, UBS and LinkedIn.

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