Bosses failing to provide mental health support for overseas staff
Companies with staff working abroad are falling short when it comes to mental health support, new research has claimed.
Research commissioned by the Health Insurance Group claims only 34% of employers have a specific policy in place, such as an employee assistance programme, to help staff working overseas if they suffer mental health problems.
The research also found that 43% of large employers provide dedicated support for mental health for employees working in other countries, compared to 28% of small and medium-sized companies.
For many people, working abroad is not just about doing the same job but from a different location. Workers must also settle into a new home and adapt to a different culture and way of life.
If they have a family with them they also have the additional worry of making sure they get settled too. If their family remains at home, that can bring different stresses, including feelings of isolation and trying to maintain long-distance relationships.
Such enormous changes can create stress and anxiety for employees, which could have serious consequences if the right support is not available.
“Today’s employees want to work for employers who take their wellbeing seriously,” said the Health Insurance Group’s Head of International, Sarah Dennis.
“Forward-thinking organisations understand the importance of providing a complete package for staff which looks after both physical and mental health. This is even more important with overseas employees, given the additional stresses involved.”
Last week, the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), Adam Marshall, said too many businesses are “still turning a blind eye” to the issue as it published the results of a joint survey conducted with the insurance giant Aviva.
The survey of more than 1,000 business leaders found almost 30% have seen an increase in the number of staff taking time off for mental health reasons.
“Paying particular attention to mental health signals to employees that they can be open about any issues they are facing and know where to turn to for help,” added Ms Dennis.
“Early intervention with mental health problems is vital and often leads to a quicker recovery, so it’s in everyone’s interests to provide it and make sure staff know how to access it.”
*The research was conducted in July 2018 for The Health Insurance Group by Opinium, it surveyed 102 HR decision makers in UK businesses, representing between 17,418 and 25,912 employees.
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