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Who is responsible for employee mental health?

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Mental health is a hot button topic and something that businesses have had to be aware of for some time now. There are plenty of ways in which businesses can support their employee’s mental health and wellbeing from providing mental health apps, to mental health first aiders, to wellbeing weeks, and mental health sick days and more, but the question is, whose responsibility is it to look after employee mental health?

 

On average, the uptake of any employee wellbeing provision is around 5%. That’s it. With such low uptake and engagement, why should employers even bother to find and pay for worthwhile mental health support if people aren’t actually using it? It’s a great question and one that we get all the time from our potential clients at Leafyard.

 

You can offer all the support in the world and at some point the responsibility falls to the individual employee to take action and actually use the provisions on offer. Recently, we had a client tell us that on an exit interview, an employee cited that they were stressed and burnt out which was a big part of the decision to leave. The client asked if they had tried the pre-paid mental health tools on their EAP and they said they hadn’t. Of course, this is an instance where the employee hasn’t taken responsibility for their own mental health. 

 

This might be for a whole range of reasons – maybe the provision isn’t anonymous, maybe it’s attached to workplace systems, maybe it’s not the right strength of intervention for the individual’s needs. Maybe they didn’t know it existed as an employee benefit. 

 

That’s why at Leafyard we made sure that the platform was entirely anonymous with employees being able to sign up with a workplace token using any email address, and uses AI to tailor the strength and content to the user’s needs. We also include an onboarding communication package that’s been designed using behavioural science to ensure that your entire staff know it’s available for free, it’s suitable for everyone whether you need support or want to improve your mental fitness, and there is no stigma attached to using it at all. 

 

Fundamentally, employers have to offer a mental health and mental fitness solution that works for everyone, it’s not an optional benefit anymore. It also makes great business sense as it reduces absenteeism, improves productivity and creativity, and improves retention rates.

 

This being said, if an individual employee is struggling, it’s their responsibility to try the solution on offer before making any drastic life changes, like quitting their job. A lot of the time, the actual problem isn’t what we think it is and while leaving a stressful role might feel good in the short term, it might not be the cure-all solution you think it is. 

 

All in all, it’s all our responsibility and we need to work together cohesively and take ownership of our role in improving employee mental health and wellbeing.