The insurance industry is urging employers to make sure staff are using the mental health support available within group risk products ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 October.
This year, World Mental Health Day focuses on the needs of young people.
Trade body Group Risk Development (GRiD) said support for mental health within group risk products can include a clinical assessment by mental health specialists, diagnosis, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and other specialist help.
Benefits are often added at no extra cost and there is no cost to use them either. It is also possible for all staff to access the mental health support, not just those that are insured.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said it can be difficult for young people to access support independently, and difficult for parents to know how to help them or get support themselves.
“It’s important that organisations know that support is available for their employees and their dependants, and that they encourage them to access it,” she added.
Intermediary The Health Insurance Group said businesses need to understand the unique challenges young people face and tailor support accordingly.
For example, it suggested any initiatives businesses instigate to support tech-savvy young people must be mobile-friendly. Apps can help users better understand and manage their personal stress trigger points and learn techniques to navigate challenging situations.
Brett Hill, managing director for The Health Insurance Group, explained that with mental health problems taking on so many different guises and affecting people of all ages, employers must be clued up and provided tailored support.
“Whether offering mental health apps, alcohol-cessation programmes, EAPs or managerial training – everyone within the workforce will benefit in the long run if mental health is given the attention it deserves,” he said.
Adrian Lewis, director at Activ Absence, suggested open communication about mental health is essential in order to reassure people there are no stigmas around mental health.
“Understanding your staff and getting to the root causes of absenteeism is a good place to start and can make a big difference to the outcome for both the business and the employee,” he said.
Meanwhile, figures collated from 400 of RedArc’s patients over a five-year period suggest early intervention is crucial in treating mental health conditions.
Based on the PHQ9 and GAD7 questionnaires commonly used to diagnose and measure the severity of anxiety and depression, where early clinical assessments are in place 88% of patients show improvements in their condition after just a four-month period of tailored support and therapy from RedArc.
In cases where patients are not able to benefit from early intervention, treatment is often delayed while waiting for NHS referrals, during which time the condition can escalate and require longer-term treatment, the nurse adviser service warned.