Good mental health support is not just for Blue Monday

January is a pivotal month for many employees as they evaluate their life and career choices, often impacting their mental wellbeing. GRiD, the industry body for group risk, highlights that Blue Monday serves as a critical time for employers to show awareness and actively support their staff's mental health.

During this period, employees often contemplate various career changes, such as a different role, work patterns, or a pay rise. Personal life decisions, like altering relationship status, relocating, or starting a family, also play a significant role. Additional factors like debt, winter blues, seasonal affective disorder, unfulfilled resolutions, and the aftermath of Christmas can further aggravate mental health issues.

Providing substantial mental wellbeing support is essential, considering these factors alongside everyday work and life pressures can severely strain employees' mental health.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, stated: “Many employers begin the new year very much focussed on their renewed ambitions for the business itself. However, it’s important to understand that employees may have also used the festive period to reassess their own lives and may return to work with additional plans and burdens.

“Blue Monday is a good reminder that employers need to be aware of the mental wellbeing of staff, but it’s important to remember that mental health support should be continual and not just for Blue Monday.”

Effective mental health support needs to cater to a wide range of issues, from mild anxiety to severe depression and psychosis. It should encompass access to therapy, treatment, counselling, and quick referral to professional mental health services for those in need.

For employers seeking quality mental health support, many employee benefits, especially within group risk benefits like employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection, and critical illness, offer access to an Employee Assistance Programme, expedited talking therapies, mental health management apps, and more.

Integrating mental health support into existing employee benefits is a cost-effective strategy. It eliminates the need for HR to source specific services for diverse employee needs and avoids additional expenses. More crucially, established support systems enable swift access to care, saving time and potentially preventing the worsening of conditions.

Katharine Moxham concluded: “Mental health is often discussed in a very socially acceptable manner but make no mistake, in the more severe cases, support is aimed at reducing the incidence of some very serious conditions. Not every employee will feel the pressure of Blue Monday or want to make significant changes to their lives in January, but employers need to be ready and waiting with meaningful support, for those who do.”