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Employers urged to take same approach to physical and mental wellbeing

Evidence shows the two are inextricably linked

Employers should take the same approach to physical and mental health to ensure they give their staff the best support, according to The Health Insurance Group.

Physical exercise can release endorphins to improve mental health, and good mental health has been shown to reduce physical problems including heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

The healthcare intermediary said early diagnosis is central to recovery for physical illnesses like cancer as well as mental health problems.

Company-organised health screenings can help to keep tabs on physical health, while trained mental health first aiders can identify when someone is struggling and point them in the right direction to seek further support.

The Health Insurance Group said initiatives such as mental health forums, and creating a culture of sensible working hours and regular breaks, should be taken but will only work if it is advocated from the top and led by example. “Only then will a truly healthy culture prevail, one in which employees feel empowered to take control of their mental and physical wellbeing – safe in the knowledge that the business is supporting them,” it said.

It also suggested employers organise group exercise sessions, such as a workplace running club, and encourage engagement in company-sponsored mental health apps and free meditation guides.

Brett Hill (pictured), managing director at The Health Insurance Group, stated that giving staff the space, culture and opportunities to look after their body and mind pays dividends in the long run.

“Employers that understand their role in helping staff to maintain their mental and physical health, ultimately benefit from a healthier and happier workforce,” he said.