Putting mental wellbeing in the spotlight — one positive from the pandemic

For all the challenges and hardships it has caused, the pandemic has at least helped to throw many pertinent issues into sharper focus, and mental health is a perfect example of this.

As Covid-19 fears abounded, remote working became the norm, and social distancing rules left people highly restricted in what they could and could not do, businesses have needed to redouble their efforts in order to look after their employees’ wellbeing. The concept that a fruit bowl and perhaps an early finish on Fridays constituted enough in terms of supporting staff was shattered.

I believe that, as an employer, there are two important elements to get right. Firstly, a company must create a culture that prevents unnecessary stress and strain on employees — yes, pressure is common in most workplaces, but it should never become so intense that it impacts a person’s mental health. On top of that, their hard work and any positive results must be recognised and rewarded, as this can provide a boost to their job satisfaction and show employees that their performance is not going unnoticed.

Secondly, employers must implement formal policies and support structures relating to mental wellbeing. 

At MFS, we provide Vitality healthcare cover for our employees, which includes, among other things: 

  • referrals for in-person or online therapy sessions
  • free membership to meditation and sleep aid apps
  • access to courses designed to deal with anxiety and depression
  • an online forum where the community can support each other to improve mental wellbeing
  • discounts on relaxing breaks

We believe that any policies or schemes must take a holistic view. Of course, what works for one employee might not work for another — while some will benefit from having access to resources and self-led programmes that can help them combat stress, anxiety or depressions, others might require different forms of support, such as meditation or counselling.

Ultimately, having the right culture is essential. Having great perks and support schemes is one thing, but if an employer does not create an environment where people can talk about how they are feeling — either openly or through structured conversations — then eye-catching policies are still likely to fall flat.

I believe that the pandemic has brought the topic of mental health into the limelight, both inside and outside of work. To that end, it has helped to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and ensured employers take a more active role in bettering their employees’ mental wellbeing, and this can only be a good thing.


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    Sue Allen

    More and more employers are beginning to recognise the importance of their staffs personal wellbeing - and this includes their mental health as well. We have all been through extremely challenging and stressful times during the pandemic - personally it has definitely changed my outlook and approach to life. 100% support employers implementing policies and support structure to help with their mental wellbeing.

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