Morneau Shepell’s Mental Health Index has provided some fascinating insight by tracking the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the working population. so what are the key takeaway’s?
Most concerningly; people’s perceptions of their overall psychological health has declined
This measure is indicative of how working Britons categories their mental health and is a very strong indicator of your future mental health.
- April 2020 -2.1
- Jan 2021 -5.6
Not only is this figure negative, but still declining. This represents a risk, but not a destiny. These issues won’t just atomically improve when the pandemic ends, mental health doesn’t work like that. However, given the right wake up call to employers, with the right support, training and focus, this can be avoided.
Who is most impacted? Savings, children and earning stability predicted the level of mental health through the pandemic.
- Those without emergency savings have the lowest mental health scores. This has been consistent month by month, in all regions. This isn’t purely a salary factor either, people with a higher income by low emergency savings have worse mental health scores than people with a low to moderate income.
- Those with children have lower sores that those in a similar situation who do not.
- Those with reduced salary / hours had worsening mental health through the year. Trying to keep people on can have unintended consequences which need to be managed. A reduction in salary creates lots of uncertainly and anxiety; a red flag for their future? Can they cope financially over time? Will their salary go back to normal? Would they be better looking for another job.. etc. The data shows that overtime this can have more of a negative mental health impact than losing your job in the first place.
- Additionally, those who are isolated fare worse in each situation.
Those who indicate better employer support have better mental health Index scores.
- Support from employers, being focussed and consistent on mental health, makes a massive difference in the scores.
- If employees scored their employers support for mental health needs ‘very well’, then their overall mental health score, only had a drop if -1.8. vs the -13 average
- Employees who rate their employers as ‘very poor’ had an overall decrease of -26.6
- What employers do matter, and maters more now than ever people
67% of British manages say working from home is helpful for their own mental health
- One third say there has been no impact, or it has made their mental health worse.
- It is helpful for some and others it isn’t – often dependant on specific situations.
- Having flexibility of both home and office work is best.
- We finally realised that mental health is an issue for all, though some are more vulnerable. Having support, and scalable solutions so they are available to everyone, is very important.
- We depend on managers and recognise the need to support their mental health specifically. Providing appropriate resources and training is crucial.
- We saw how critical financial wellbeing is to employee mental health and wellbeing. As you think about your mental health strategy, make sure this is an area being considered, as they go hand in hand.
- We saw that employers support for mental health truly makes a meaningful difference. This is incredibly clear in the data.
Despite all the data, it is very important to understand that behind all of these numbers, there is a person and a family. Lots of people have been on very difficult journeys, and there have been and will be some fantastic stories of recovery too.
More information on Morneau Shepell’s Mental health Index can be found here; https://www.morneaushepell.com/ca-en/mental-health-index
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