Unum’s employee assistance programme (EAP), provided by LifeWorks, received 12,610 calls in 2017, 70 per cent of which related to mental health issues. A further 14 per cent of callers had legal problems and another 14 per cent called with practical problems, such as caring responsibilities.
The insurer says 60 of those with mental health issues were offered counselling, with 97 per cent offered an initial appointment within five days. In total 17,335 counselling sessions were provided and 92 per cent saw their mental health improve as a result.
Anxiety and depression were the most common, representing 66 per cent of calls, followed by problems caused by relationship issues – an issue for 13 per cent and bereavement, the cause of 9 per cent of calls.
The data showed 58 per cent of callers were women.
The recent Farmer/Stevenson independent review on mental health commissioned by the Prime Minister recommended that all employers with more than 500 employees should provide tailored mental health support, including EAPs.
Online support was also accessed 74,607 times by employees downloading information on issues such as mental health, money and relationships.
Unum head of propositions Ambika Fraser says: “We took the decision to analyse and release these figures to increase awareness of the invaluable support that’s available to hundreds of thousands of UK workers.
“We’re committed to reducing the stigma around mental health concerns and hope the high success rates will encourage more to seek help when they need it.”
“EAPs are a first line of defence for employers and line managers in protecting the wellbeing of their staff. They provide fast, confidential solutions to all kinds of problems from mental health to debt and relationship worries that could otherwise quickly escalate and impact productivity.”
LifeWorks chief executive and founder Jamie True says: “We live in an interconnected world where well-being is mental, physical and financial. You can’t address one without supporting all. With 1 in 4 people in the UK suffering from a mental health issue this year, it’s now more important than ever to support employees’ total well-being.”