Mental health support needed in workplace protection

Mental health support needed in workplace protection

Mental health referrals from employees on a group protection plan are more prevalent in January than any other time of the year, according to research from RedArc.

RedArc is a service provided as a benefit within many group income protection and group private medical insurance plans offered by employers to their staff.

It's data showed its personal nurse adviser service received an average of 37 per cent more mental health referrals in January than any other month.

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The findings are published hot on the heels of so-called Blue Monday, a term coined in 2005 to denote the mid-month Monday as the most depressing day of the year, based on an algorithm.

The managing director of RedArc called on more providers to incorporate mental health support as part of their standard group protection offerings.

Christine Husbands said: "We would like to see more insurers provide mental health support as part of their standard offering.

"We would also like more advisers to encourage employers to use the support, and for employers to better communicate its availability to staff."

She said while nobody expected employers to be able to deal with mental health issues directly, if more support were to be made available through group risk products, this would improve the mental health of the UK's workforce.

Ms Husbands added: “Any mental health condition rarely has a quick fix but with the right support, symptoms can be managed, allowing the individual to continue in full time, productive employment – which has to be in the best interests of both the sufferer and the employer.”

Earlier in January, RedArc announced a partnership with Healix Health Services to provide a second medical opinion service in the UK.

The service combines a face-to-face medical opinion from a consultant specialist with guidance and support by telephone from a dedicated nurse adviser, both before and after the second opinion has been sought. It covers all major health areas, including mental health and is also available to children.

Ms Husbands, commented: "A serious illness diagnosis is inevitably a worrying time and, in fact, any illness can lead to a range of concerns and questions.

"A second medical opinion may lead to a different diagnosis, an alternative course of treatment or confirmation that everything is on track. Whatever the outcome, it puts the patient in control, and that is of great value to the end client."