From stress and anxiety to worry about the future, more than two thirds of UK adults report feeling worried about the effect Covid-19 is having on their lives. And research by The Health Foundation found that mental health has worsened substantially – by 8.1 per cent on average – because of the pandemic, with young adults and women hit hardest.
 
Undoubtedly, it’s been a challenging year, and for employees, aside from natural health concerns, fears over job security have heightened anxiety. While research suggests Covid-19 worries are reducing in line with current improving health stats in the UK, returning to work is bringing a new set of fears for many.
 
The pandemic has exaggerated the effect in the workplace of poor mental health, which a Government study revealed was already costing the economy more than £105 billion a year.
Employers have a major role to play in helping to reduce this burden on individuals, their businesses and society. Employability Day is a good time for employers to take stock of how they support colleagues experiencing poor mental health.
 
The Able Futures service [https://able-futures.co.uk/mental-health-support-for-employers] provided by Ingeus is free – funded by the Government – and supports employees living with a mental health condition to have more good days than bad.
 
A healthier, happier workforce is better for productivity and can improve employee attendance and retention while reducing time and money spent on recruitment. By providing support, employers can demonstrate their commitment to a more inclusive and diverse workplace, which can enhance employee engagement and create a positive working environment.
 
Able Futures gives employers a toolkit to help those with mental health conditions and offers confidential support for employees.
 
Here’s what some users of the service have to say:
 
Camden Borough Council
Nina Job, Public Health Strategist: “We want to make sure people are able to access help as soon as they need it and are also encouraging them to share details of Able Futures with working family members, friends and colleagues outside of the council. I would encourage any employer to access this service to give their staff an extra lifeline in times of need.” 
 
Footasylum
Wellbeing Nurse, Lindsay Cunane: “I work part time and the company is always growing so it is vital that I have reliable, professional help to direct people to. Able Futures is an immense asset to us as a business. We can offer a service that contacts the participant within one working day and begins planning immediately. The wait for help is usually the most difficult part if you’re experiencing mental health issues – this is a lifeline.”  
 
Kellogg’s
Specialist Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner, Corinne McParland: “We have colleagues in many different roles experiencing many different pressures – some work related, but many not. I’ve been massively impressed by Able Futures with how quickly and easily appointments are arranged, the potential length of time that people are supported for and, of course, the fact that for us as an employer all of this professional help is available free.”