Mental health has become a boardroom priority for nearly two-thirds (63%) of firms providing professional services in law, according to new research from Bupa.
For over a quarter (28%) of businesses in this sector, mental health is now a bigger issue among employees than physical illness.
The research comes as demand for mental health treatment is increasing, with Bupa seeing the number of employees claiming for mental health treatment double over the last decade. On a national scale, more than two in five (41%) businesses in the UK have seen an increase in episodes of mental health compared to five years ago.
Absenteeism is a growing issue for businesses: approximately 743,000 employees in the UK have taken long-term absence in the last 12 months due to mental health issues. And research from the Government’s recent review shows that poor mental health costs employers between £33 billion and £42 billion a year.
The overwhelming majority employers in this sector want to help support their people, but many do not know how to best support employees with these challenges (52%). Over four in 10 (42%) admit that awareness and understanding of mental health issues is still quite low across their organisation.
In response to increasing demand from businesses for mental health support, Bupa has launched its Business Mental Health Advantage – the most extensive mental health cover for businesses and their employees.
Mental Health Advantage provides cover for all mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar and anxiety. It also includes those that are typically excluded by insurers, such as alcohol and drug abuse. The removal of time limits on treatment for mental health conditions also offers businesses and their employees with peace of mind that individuals can seek help if their condition returns.
The cover will also provide ongoing support for the monitoring and maintenance of diagnosed mental health conditions, to help employees manage their condition and prevent worsening symptoms.
Alex Perry, CEO, Bupa Insurance UK, said: “Mental health is one of the biggest people issues that businesses face today – big, small and across different sectors. The good news is that we know how much businesses take it seriously, the overwhelming majority want to support their people.
“Our new Mental Health Advantage cover will now enable business leaders to provide better support for their colleagues – offering businesses ease of access and the confidence that their people can access the right support and care when they need it.”
(Source: Bupa Business Mental Health Advantage)